It’s that time of the year again when our term and board exams like IGCSE / NIOS come speeding around the corner which sets off our stress triggers. Here are five simple tips you can use to stay calm and not wake up the panic monster.
For IGCSE or NIOS if you pay attention to your body when you are in a stressful situation, you will realise that your muscles gets tensed, your heart beats fast and your breathing becomes rapid. Learning deep breathing exercises will help your body move from a state of panic to a state of calmness. You can try the Lazy 8 breathing technique in the picture below.
I am sure a lot of students think that “burning the midnight oil” is the way to go but studies have shown that lack of sleep can adversely affect our focus, concentration and memory. On an average you must get 7-8 hours of sleep. Remember a rested mind is much better than a tired one, so get your Zzzzzz.
The worry that comes with not being prepared for an exam just grows larger and larger with every passing day. This worry turns into stress which in turn cause us anxiety and anxiety wakes up the panic monster. Preparing for our exams may involve dividing your chapters, getting your doubts solved, joining a study group or revising or simply making a checklist of the things you completed today. You might still feel a little nervous before a test but your preparation will reassure you that “You’ve got this!”
Give yourself mini tests after a chapter and time it. We often know our work but don’t have the time to complete the paper, ‘time’ really caused me stress when I gave my exams. The only way to get better at managing your time is practice. Practice previous years board papers, time your brief and extended answers. This gives you a better chance to complete your paper and manage your time, also practice writing as we all know it’s not easy to write for 3 hour if you are not used to it.
We can sometimes be our own worst enemy. Learning and studying doesn’t come easy to all of us and that inner critic can really get negative and mean if we don’t pay attention. You need to be patient with yourself. Say to yourself, ‘This is hard but I can do it, I’ve done it before’ ‘I will take a break and get back to it’ ‘I am getting better at taking exams’ ‘I am going to do the best I can.’ ‘I know my work, I’ve practiced this with my teacher.’ Remember being kind to yourself will improve your confidence and self-esteem.
It’s important to remember that if the stress and worry keeps piling up, talk to someone about it. Reach out to your parents, friends or even your school counsellor, we are all here to encourage you.
Author: Ms. Avalanne Dsouza, School Psychologist, The Aditya Birla Integrated School.