Solvation Blog

5 Tips to Tackle Exam Stress

It’s exam time! That can only mean one thing — stress! Some common signs include increased heart rate, stomach cramps, trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite or overeating. Here are some helpful ways to prepare so you can do your very best.

exam stress

1. Study smarter

Instead of just re-reading notes from your teacher, put the work in your own words. This helps reiterate the points so you truly understand the material and not just to memorize it. Another great suggestion is to prepare by thinking of questions your teacher might ask on the exam and answering them. Consider it a practice test!

2. Plan Your Time

Cramming doesn’t work, so be sure to leave enough time ahead of your exam to study. Schedule your study time for about 50 minute chunks, with 10-minute breaks. Eat a snack, pop on Facebook or go for a walk. Arrange to study in an area where you can concentrate without any distractions.

3. Be Healthy

Many studies have shown that exercise and healthy eating improves performance on exams. Burning off nervous energy and clearing your head with a good workout is a great idea. Don’t forget about sleep, you need a solid nights sleep to help you remember what you’ve spent so much time learning.

4. Get Help

Don’t try to do everything alone. If you’re stressed out, talk to someone you trust. That can be a parent, teacher, counselor or friend. Study groups can also be a good idea as you can help one another learn and be there for moral support.

5. Don’t Panic

It may be easier said than done, but when you get your exam, try not to panic. Take a deep breath before beginning and mentally prepare yourself. Then, scan each page of the exam before beginning to review everything and organize how much time you need on each section. Carefully read all the instructions before beginning, so you don’t miss something important. One technique is to complete all the questions you can answer automatically first, to ensure you get marks for them, then go back to fill in the trickier questions. When you feel like you’re done, review your answers to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

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Bruce McAskill Bruce McAskill, PhD, is an educational consultant and a high school math and science teacher in Victoria BC. He is currently developing solution sets in his spare time for more textbooks!