Suffering with exam stress?
You certainly aren't alone.
Many people suffer from it to varying degree, luckily however there are actions you can take to reduce its effect.
Hopefully, you will be able to find some of those techniques and strategies right here, that you can implement to help reduce at least some stress and anxiety for up and coming tests or exams.
But firstly, how do you actually know when you are stressed?
Obviously there are times when you know perfectly well, however if you start displaying some of the following symptoms; sleeping poorly, have a poor appetite or diet, acting in a depressive manner, frequent headaches can also be derived from stress, then these are generally good indicators to go and deal with it, perhaps visiting your local doctor and implementing some of the actions below. (NHS - Symptoms of Stress)
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Getting a good nights rest, is probably one of the best tips around for reducing stress & anxiety, getting a proper nights sleep improves your ability to think rationally and improve concentration levels, you should be aiming for at least eight hours of sleep a night during the exam period, but generally no more than ten hours. Try also forming a regular sleeping routine, e.g. bed times, and alarms should also help with prevent the feeling of constant tiredness.
If you are stressing, studying or on the computer right up until the minute you go to sleep, you are already setting yourself up for a bad nights sleep, instead get some down time for about an hour before you hit the bed, simply ... relax. (9 Great Tricks To Help You Sleep Like A Baby)
Get to the Source of Your Stress
By pin pointing exactly what's bothering you, you are opening yourself up to a whole new source of opportunities to reduce your stress. For example for some it could be that of 'competition', they feel if they don't do well, they could be made a mockery of from their friends and peers. The fact that one has admitted this within themselves is a great step towards reducing that anxiety, as this has allowed friends etc. to offer guidance and help if needed, and that really the worst case scenario isn't really as severe as they'd first thought. (Identify Your Sources of Stress)
Get Some of That ... Positive Thinking!
Thinking positively will have more an immediate impact than you may think. You'll be more organized when it comes to revision, more likely to take in information. Allows the feeling of stress and fear of failure to be reduced if not completely vanished due to knowing that almost all exams are never life or death.
But mainly by actually just trying to stay in a positive mood is it helps you to overcome stress, simply by being able to let troubling things just go and that dwelling on such feelings is actually just counter-productive. (Reduce Stress by Eliminating Negative Self-Talk)
Share Your Worries
Talking to someone about it can obviously help, as they a problem shared is a problem halved. Whether you simply talk with a close friend or some support staff that may not even necessarily be offering advice, but rather a source of guidance on keep up a constant perspective on the grand scheme of things and dealing with any issues that are at the forefront distracting you from revision, whilst acting as a calming influence.
You Are What You Eat (and Drink)
What you are eating around the exam period is going to have a factor to play on how well they feel during the exam period, having a good balanced healthy diet is going to be better for them physically and mentally compared to that of high fats and caffeinated drinks which can cause you to be have crashes and be irritable.
Remember also to drink plenty of water, keeping yourself hydrated will help you concentrate and keep on track.
Stay Away Form Distractions
Your only worry should be your exams, try and sort out any other problems you have going on that could potentially distract you from your revision and exam focus. Having too many distractions will cause you to get stressed, due to having to deal with too many pressures coming from lots of different angles. So single task. Hide and lock yourself in a room with all your materials and place a big KEEP OUT sign to let people know you are reivising, and unless completely urgent you don't want to be disturbed until you are done.
Try and make sure that you are at least a little bit active each day of revision, whether that simply be a walk, a swim class or game of football, are effective in making you feel better about yourself and helps clear your mind and relieve that stress, giving you an overall new outlook on things rather than being clogged up revising all day.
Perhaps 'Take up a Yoga Class'. Yoga is said to be able to help relieve anxiety in numerous ways, due to controlled movements and breathing whilst instigating in physical activities. (Get Moving to Combat Stress)
Get Organized and Draw Up a Revision Timetable
By setting up a timetable you are able to organize clearly what needs to be revised and how to allocate it out in a manner that you aren't really well prepared for a couple of exams, but almost clueless for the others and hence getting stressed as you haven't allocated enough time to revising them.
Aim to try and offer an equal amount of hours allocated to every topic (unless you are better at certain subjects or others, or playing it tactically) and that you keep to it, the fact that you know you are organised with what you are revising assures you that you are going to at least cover everything. Make sure that you are applying other effective revision strategies too.
If your anxiety and stress are getting worse, you try and contact your institution's help line if not contact your local help-lines and organizations that are out there to help you deal with stress and anxiety that you should check out, who can offer you advice and even special mitigating circumstances in some cases, and generally be extremely helpful to you.
If you feel like if you have tried many of the above suggestions then it could be worth investigating further into books like 'Exam Stress? Don't Worry', and it might be an idea to go to your local doctor seeing what further actions you can take on how to cope with your exam stress and anxiety.