TEST STRESS: Five simple tips to help you overcome exam anxiety
By COLIN BARTLEY
IT’S that dreaded time of year and that almost everyone can relate to it – exam time!
By now, more than 120,000 students, both Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate, will have already completed the first paper.
Stress levels around the exams can be remarkably high, and while some people can deal with this, it can have a very harmful and exhausting impact on many students.
So here’s five simple wellbeing tips to help you get through the next few weeks:
- Don’t forget the water
Caffeine and energy drinks give instant hits, but in the long term they affect sleep and concentration.
Recent studies by the University of Westminster and University of East London discovered that just by drinking 300mls of water during studies and during exams, a person’s attention span can increase by 25%.
More water please!
- Mostly work, but some play
It’s really important to make time in your schedule for relaxation and exercise. All work and no play, as the saying goes.
If you are a gym bunny and enjoy the burn, try find time during the exams to go on occasion. The intensity and effort of a gym session can really clear your head.
If the gym isn’t your thing, get out for a run, a cycle, or just a walk anything to get out into the open and away from your study area or exam hall. You’ll need that change of scenery.
- Let me tell you something …
In the main your friends will be sitting exams with you and your group chats will inevitably wander back to talk about the exam just sat.
Try to avoid this – it’s not good to hear about completed exams and minor points you may have missed. You don’t need the extra stress.
This is a good time to chat with your family about topics not exam related, use these chats as a mental break from the constant barrage of the exams.
If the stress is getting to you, approach your parents, or maybe a sibling that has been through exams recently. They really are there to help.
Don’t ignore your friends. If you do get chatting in the group, maybe try initiate a topic completely non-exam related. You were friends long before these exams came around.
Remember that and try to laugh together, not stress together.
- Eat, Sleep, Repeat, Repeat
Routine is your friend.
As much as possible get yourself into a good sleep routine. Even if you have a morning off one exam day, don’t mess up your clock by rewarding yourself lie-in.
Plenty of time for lie-ins when the exams are over.
Eat well! This goes without saying.
Get plenty of fruit and veg into your system, avoid snacks and convenience food.
According to Safefood.EU, your diet during exam time does affect your attention and alertness. It recommends foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, yogurts and fruit smoothies.
- Leave it all behind
Once the exam is over there is nothing you can do about it. Forget it instantly and relax.
There is nothing you can change once the paper is handed up, so do not over-think it as it may affect you for your next exam.
You should see it as a way of waving goodbye to something that will never stress you out again.