Surviving Exams

Believe in yourself but ask for help if you need it.

Exams are stressful for everyone and if you’re feeling anxious about your own exams then it’s important to know that you are not alone. The important thing is to manage your stress without it impacting on your well being and our Wellbeing Officer has some helpful advice for you.

Firstly, ensure that you have a balanced diet. Try to avoid too much coffee, tea or fizzy drinks as the caffeine makes your thinking less clear so don’t rely on the energy drinks! Try to keep to a regular sleep pattern. Most people need 7 – 8 hours sleep per night: making this a priority will give you the energy to cope with other pressures in your life. If you find it difficult to get to sleep google for some relaxation exercises and try them before going to sleep. Take time to plan each day and organise your day. Find out what time of day you are at your best, some people are great in the mornings and some people can study all night long. Ensure you eat breakfast as this will give you the energy to cope mentally and physically with the day ahead.

Try to make sure that you start your revision early. Knowing that you have prepared well can help to reduce the stress levels and boost your confidence. Work out what you need to learn and set up a timetable for your subjects. Make sure you include time for rest and relaxation and be realistic about the amount of time you can spend. Don’t make demands on yourself that you know you cannot meet as this will just increase your stress.

When you feel that you are losing concentration take a short break, you are allowed breaks you know! You can then come back to your revision feeling refreshed. Make some time to do some exercise when you are revising, even just a walk outside. This will boost your energy, clear your mind and reduce feelings of stress.  If you find that you are feeling stressed or panicky about the work you have to do take some time out and do a relaxation exercise. It can also be helpful to visualise yourself in the exam and being successful, sounds silly but sports athletes use visualisation techniques.

Don’t try to be perfect – Aim to do your best but recognise that none of us is perfect and you don’t need to be either. Remember – You wouldn’t be on the course if you didn’t have the ability to do it. Therefore, if you prepare for your exams you should do fine. Exams may feel like a crucial thing now but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are just a small part, you will forget this panic!

There are test anxiety booklets that you can pick up from the student services centre, or if you email counsellor.ic@uhi.ac.uk we can email it out to you.

You can get the headspace app to learn mindfulness techniques to help you cope with exam stress and life.

Coloring therapy for adults now on your mobile. The secret against anxiety. Let the colors fill your mind in a relaxing painting experience.

How to cope in the exam itself.

Try to avoid tense conversations just before the exam.

Remember your breathing and the relaxation exercise.

Organise your time in the exam carefully

Read through the entire paper first.

Decide which questions to answer and circle them, if you are allowed to write on the paper.

Allocate time for each question, including time to write a plan beforehand.

Spend about ten minutes writing your plan, before launching into your answer proper.

More ideas will probably come to you as you work through your plan and it’s easy to fit them in at the appropriate point. Tell yourself that once your plan is written the answer is as good as done so then you can relax and write it out calmly.

Another advantage of the plan is that if you leave an answer unfinished the examiner may see from your plan that you had more to say.

Try very hard to keep within the time you have allocated for each question. This gives a structure that will be calming to your thoughts and feelings.

If your mind goes blank, don’t panic! Panicking will just make it harder to remember. Focus on slow, deep breathing for about a minute. If you still can’t remember the information move onto another question and come back..

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