Coping with exam stress and nerves - part 1 revision
At this time of year, many of us are revising for and sitting exams. Whether it’s your seven-year-old worried about their SATs, right up to university finals and beyond, this can be a stressful period for all.
During the revision period, there are a variety of variety of hurdles to overcome, including motivation, style and memorisation. Here are three top tips to help manage exam emotions and how to navigate revision.
Often we dread the idea of someone judging and testing us, imagining the worst and filling our minds with worry. It’s time to let that go, it will only hamper your chances. Try changing the perception and instead think about this being your chance to show off and shine. You’ve understood the work throughout the year and now’s your opportunity to refresh that knowledge and fill in any gaps. If there was something you didn’t quite understand the first time, reach out and ask for clarification, rather than struggling to decipher it yourself.
If you didn’t do the work in class, this is your opportunity to gain as much knowledge as you can before the big day. Think of this as your chance to see just how much you can learn in a short space of time. It is your best chance to come out on top.
Make sure you are revising in a way that suits you and prioritise the things that need more work. You could think of it as a short term project with a deadline and test yourself regularly.
- Write out a timetable and work to it. If it isn’t working, be realistic and amend it.
- If you want to go out and sit in the sunshine to revise, do it.
- If writing headlines down on different colour post-it notes work or drawing pictures of key figures and making notes under them, do it.
- If reading aloud and recording your subject, then listening to it in a relaxed focused state whilst lying in the park works for you, then do it!
- Make it into a quiz for yourself and maybe classmates. Keep the lines of communication open.
Think about the solution to an issue rather than worry about what can go wrong. You need to own this opportunity to recap and make the best of it.
Have a think about how you remember things with greatest ease. For some, it is reading out loud and listening, for others it will be remembering images or the words on a page and for some it will be more about using the imagination and filling ideas with life and feeling. Think about what works for you most naturally - if you don’t know, test it out.
Always break the information down into bite-sized chunks. Section things off and stop when you get there, then recap and see if you can boil the concept down further, so that you can create small hooks to bring the information back up to the surface easily.
Get yourself into a positive relaxed state before you begin to work and always have a break or stop when you are tired. A tired brain remembers very little. You need to think of yourself as a dynamic and highly focused performer who needs to be in the optimum condition to work. Make sure you reward yourself when you reach a revision milestone. Relaxation and laughter are best.
Lastly, the more positive, focused and relaxed you can be on exam day, the more you will recall.
Part two - managing stress and nerves before an exam, coming soon!