Using Exam Stress to Your Advantage

Using Exam Stress to Your Advantage Share

With exam dates looming, it’s easy to panic and wonder how you’re ever going to get through this stressful time. Feelings ranging from mild anxiety to blind panic can sabotage your chances if you let them, so don’t let the brain fog descend and prevent you from doing your best!

With a little awareness, you can use the stress of this period to your advantage – try these simple but effective tips to turn everything around.

Take immediate action

The body’s natural response to stress is to release adrenaline into your blood stream. This sets up the ‘fight or flight’ reaction that is familiar to us all. The problem is you don’t literally need to run, but you do need to channel this extra energy in some way.

So what can you do? Deal with it by taking positive action. You could:

  • Get your books and notes in order
  • Organise a revision meet-up with friends
  • Check that you have everything needed for the exam
  • Go for a run to help you sleep

The main thing is that you are doing something practical which acts as a distraction from the source of stress.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Thinking of this famous book title by author, Susan Jeffers, will help you focus. Fear often creeps in when you over-think a situation, so if you’re not studying, distract yourself by talking to friends, shopping, cleaning the house – anything that prevents you dwelling on the exams and revision.

Motivate yourself by visualising success – how you’ll feel when you pass, for example. Take a few moments to absorb the feelings of relief when the exams are over, and excitement when you realise you’ve been successful.

Have a Plan B

Knowing how to deal with setbacks and move forward with confidence reduces the negative effects of stress. In terms of dealing with exam stress, simply having a Plan B will help. Plan B could include retaking the exam at the next sitting, or maybe waiting a while if you’re under pressure in other areas of your life – maybe you haven’t been able to revise as thoroughly as you would have liked due to circumstances outside your control.

Embrace the lighter side of life

The healing power of laughter has been well documented for centuries – it’s not known as the best medicine for nothing. It promotes wellbeing, is free, and although it’s contagious it has no harmful side-effects.

Using the power of laughter to blitz stress levels and regain a sense of purpose will provide a more balanced view of this short but stressful time in your life.

(Reed Business School, 24/11/2014)

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