As we come back refreshed after the half term break, we are reminded that exams are looming and this can be a very stressful time for everybody. Stress is described as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”.
Stress is commonly seen as a bad response to a situation; however, stress during exam time can help you work, think faster and more effectively and overall enhance your academic performance.
However, if stress reaches overwhelming levels, it is likely to have a detrimental effect: so controlling levels of stress is imperative.
Most of us suffer from stress around exam time. It's normal. Stress can cause patchy sleep and sleepless nights, irritability or a short temper, stomach butterflies, and a poor appetite: all these are likely to have a negative effect on performance. Being aware of what causes your stress will help to allow you to manage it and do yourself justice.
Your stress may be linked to being a generally anxious person, or to being poorly prepared, based on a bad experience in a previous exam, or maybe you're just a perfectionist and anything less than your best is a failure.
The key to reducing your stress is by making an early start to your revision, setting aside plenty of time to do so and by making sure you are not rushing.
As we have heard many times before: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
However, although revision is key, make sure you are taking proper breaks, cramming at the last minute before an exam is likely to hinder your chances of a successful outcome. Also make sure you are eating properly, a healthy diet which is low in sugar, caffeine and alcohol, can promote health and reduce stress. You need to get a good night's sleep as it will help make you able to tackle the day's stress more easily. And finally make sure that you continue to exercise regularly. Exercise allows you to focus on something else during the day and enables you to exert energy away from work.
So when exams come round the corner, make sure you do your best. Stay calm and communicate with your teachers and parents: bottling up your stress and anxiety is not a good thing to do.