Beat exam stress with these top tips

Tests and exams, including O levels and A levels can be the most challenging part of school life for you. Extra tuition classes after school and the late night studying without adequate sleep can make you weak. As a result you can fall sick ultimately ending up with unsatisfactory grades.

The Maya team has brought few tips for you to ease the stress.

Watch out for stress

Look out for signs of exam stress. Students who experience stress may get irritated. They might not sleep well, lose interest in food, worry a lot and appear depressed or negative. Headaches and stomach pains can also be stress-related. You may be feeling a weight of expectation from your family, school, university or workplace to succeed. You may be afraid that you are not good enough, or haven’t worked hard enough. Having someone to talk to about your work can help. Support from parent, tutour or study buddy can help teenagers air their worries and keep things in perspective. Everybody’s stress ‘threshold’ is different. A situation that is too much for one person to tolerate may be stimulating to another. Controlled at the right level, however, stress can work as an advantage, because it can help you to produce the peak performance. If you feel you aren’t being able to cope, talk to teachers at your school. Make sure your are relaxed before the exam.

Ensure you are eating well

A balanced diet is vital for your health, and can help you feel well during exam periods. High-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks (such as cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips) make you hyperactive, irritable and moody. Here is a list of foods which should be included in your diet:

Fruits – Eating fruit at breakfast, when your body is craving fuel, allows you to regain the energy quickly to focus on your exams for the day.

Whole grains – Cereal and oatmeal are typically thought of as breakfast foods, but eating them at any time during the day can help boost your concentration and attention span.

Fish and Fresh Vegetables – Fish and certain fresh vegetables are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to help in brain function, especially memory and performance.

Water – Water help keeps your organs and muscles running efficiently, and one of the signs of dehydration is a dip in your mental ability. Choose pure water over an energy drink because the caffeine and other stimulants in energy drinks can overwork the nervous system and actually cause you to lose focus.

Get sleep

Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need between eight and ten hours’ sleep a night. Allow half an hour or so for kids to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed to help them get a good night’s sleep. Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea. If you are tired, worrying can get blown out of proportion. If you are have been finding it difficult to get to sleep, try cutting down on stimulants (tea, coffee and alcohol, for instance) and make sure you have time to unwind before bed. Sleep will benefit you far more than hours of panicky last-minute study.

Make studying easier

You can ask for help from your parents or study partner to revise. Try to draw up a revision schedule or ask the school for one.Think about getting together in a study group with fellow students. It can help with revision and give you an opportunity for talking about your worries, letting off steam and reducing tension. Sometimes, people are reluctant to open up for fear of what others might think of them, but everybody is in the same situation.

It’s okay to be nervous

Remember feeling nervous is normal. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams.

The key is to put these nerves to positive use. Remember what you do know and the time you have put into study can help you feel confident. However, learning how to relax is crucial. Straightforward, effective, self-help techniques are going to be very helpful in the run-up to the exams, and even when you are sitting in the exam room.

Here is a Relaxation Technique which can help you feel better during stress:

Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply

Locate any areas of tension and try to relax those muscles; imagine the tension disappearing

Relax each part of the body, from your feet to the top of your head

As you focus on each part of your body, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation

Get some exercise

Everyone needs time off, and it’s a bad idea to abandon your social life and sporting activities, but for a period near the examinations, you may need to cut down. This may involve making hard choices. Always leave yourself with a minimum of 3 hours free time per day. However, exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. Walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.

Don’t add to the pressure

Before you go in for a test or exam, be positive and confident. Remember that failing isn’t the end of the world, and that if things don’t go well you may be able to take the exam again.

After each exam, try talking to your parents, friends or teachers. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that can’t be changed.

Give yourself a treat

When the exams are over, celebrate with a treat. These can be a reward for your hard work. Ice cream parlors such as Cream and Fudge Factory, Club Gelato and Movenpick are great places for small treats. At the end of a month or more of hard work and studying enjoy the treat to your fullest.

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