After a long and exhausting college term, it is time to prepare for the final exams, a major stress-causing factor for college students. Anxiety, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, moody temper and feeling sick are common symptoms of the pre-exam stress. However, there are things you can do to relax your mind and body and use the stress caused by the exams to your advantage.
Step 1: Breathe
It is pivotal that you learn how to breathe properly when under stress. Here are few easy steps you can take in order to learn important breathing techniques:
- Sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Keep your back straight and relax your shoulders.
- Close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other one on your stomach. Make sure that when you breathe your stomach rises and falls while your chest stands still.
- Take deep breathes. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, slowly, and count to five in your head.
- Repeat the exercise for as long as you want to. This technique seems very easy but it requires daily exercises for it to happen naturally.
Step 2: Muscle Relaxation
Strictly connected to the breathing technique is the muscle relaxation. Following these few easy steps will help your body relax and your mind will relax consequently. Constant practice of this relaxation routine can help you achieve a broader awareness of your body and mind.
- Put on comfortable clothes and take your shoes off.
- Focus on your breathing before starting the muscle relaxation routine.
- Concentrate on each part of your body, starting from the bottom to work your way up. For example, take a moment to focus on your right foot. Feel it. Tense the muscle for 10 seconds, and then relax it, focusing on releasing the tension created by tightening the muscle.
- Enjoy the relaxed feeling and move on to the next part of your body.
Step 3: Eat Properly
If you tend to eat a lot, or not to eat at all when you are under stress, remember that healthy eating habits are extremely important to your body and mind.
- If you eat everything you can find around you when coping with pre-exam stress, stop and relax.
- Sit down with a complete meal.
- Make sure your meal involves vegetables and fruit and drink minimum 1.5 liter of water per day.
- Turn the TV off. Do not allow yourself to be distracted from your meal.
- Enjoy every bite, eating slowly.
Step 4: PQRST
To maximize your learning, it is important that you follow the PQRST steps. It is a studying technique that, when constantly practiced, it becomes very easy to follow and will allow you to memorize and learn a great deal of work load while saving time that you will be able to dedicate to other activities.
P = Preview. Quickly read the material to get a general idea of what it deals with.
Q = Questions. Write down questions that will help you remember what you need to focus on while reading.
R = Read. Read carefully and divide the text into sub-paragraphs, titling each one using keywords.
S = Summarize. Write short summaries using key words and main ideas that will help you memorize.
T = Test. Test yourself over and over to make sure you have learned what you were supposed to.
Step 5: Get Ready for the Exam
The night before the exam, try not to revise. Go out for a walk with friends, watch a movie, listen to music, and keep yourself busy, away from the books. Make sure you have everything ready for the next day, such as school material and clothes, thus avoiding forgetting something important the morning of the exam.
Practice the breathing technique before leaving your house, knowing that you will do your best, because your best is all that you can give.
Step 6: The Exam
If you feel anxious at the beginning of the exam, take a moment to breathe. Close your eyes and focus on breathing properly and relaxing your body. Open your eyes and read each question carefully, so to make sure you answer accordingly and in a satisfactory manner. When the exam is over, do not stress yourself going over the answers you gave. Relax, it is over now!
Beat Exam Stress
Coping with pre-exam stress can be very difficult but by following few easy and quick steps you will be able to use the stress to your advantage. Be motivated by what you can achieve, instead of feeling depressed by the fear of failure.
Here is a little short story for you, I had been out of school for 4 years and was studying to get Cisco certifications so I could get a decent job, I was so afraid that I would fail the test. I studied day and night but I was still so stressed, what helped me the most was the tips that I mentioned above, in the end, if you are prepared, then there is nothing to worry about. Best of luck to all of you.