It’s that time of year when your heart is racing, you lose sleep, your appetite changes – is it Love?
Noooooo…..It’s EXAMS! Stress is a normal reaction when we have an important event where we need to do well and there are ways to manage stress so that we can function and be successful.
1. PLANNING: It is no surprise that you have final exams. Make a written plan or commit verbally to a study partner what your plan will be to get ready for exams. You know what study habits work best for you but no one does well cramming at the last minute. Look at the dates for your exams and prepare a time line leading up to those dates which includes what you need to do. If you need help, like tutoring or accommodations, ask for it!
2. NORMAL ACTIVITIES: As part of your planning, include the normal activities you have that help with stress. Exercise, healthy eating, enough sleep and having fun are all important. You may not be able to spend as much time as usual while preparing for exams but don’t eliminate them.
3. PRACTICE: Especially if you have test anxiety, you can always ask a professor for a practice test. Or ask someone who took the course before you what the test was like, how did they prepare for it, etc. Having as much information as possible about the upcoming stressor, helps to manage stress reactions.
4. POSITIVE SELF-TALK: We all have dialogues that run in our mind that can be positive or negative. Telling yourself that this exam is going to be impossible or that you are going to fail is not helpful for stress management. Pay attention to your thoughts and stop the negative ones. Replace them with positive, realistic statements. If getting an A on the exam is not realistic, say instead that you will pass the exam. Also let your friends know that you don’t want to hear a lot of negative talk from them. Even if you are confident about passing, listening to friends who are constantly negative can increase your stress. If this is a particularly stressful time in your family, you may need to limit how much time you talk with family members while you are studying for exams.
5. THE EXAM ITSELF: Look over the entire exam before starting and think about how much time you will need. Answer the questions you feel most confident about first. Stay until the end of the time period in case you remember information that is important. Review your answers before you leave. High anxiety can cause us to forget things so remember… Breathe and Relax!
Tips compiled by Counseling Services at the Women’s Center
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net