The way I have been working these days, reminded me of my exams. I recollected then that a lot of colleges would have exams now. Exams give me nightmares. Still do in fact. I still have dreams where I find myself absolutely unprepared on the morning of an exam. I wake up in a stress and have to remind myself that I have passed that stage more than a decade ago. So here are a few tips to beat exam stress –
- Rid yourself of distractions – This is a no brainer really. Half the stress during exams is due to the wasted time. In my days TV, computer games and novels used to be the distractions. Mobile phones and social media would be the big ones today. Just go into a 30 minute zone where you do not look at anything else but your study material. You can then give yourself 10 minutes of distraction time!
- Drink Water or Chamomile Tea – Chamomile Tea is a well known relaxant and really helps reduce stress levels. If you can not get your hands on that, just sip water. Keep your self hydrated to fight the exam fatigue. Avoid too much tea or coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant and works exactly the opposite way a relaxant works!
- Take time off – Don’t be immersed in your books all the time. Ensure that you take time off too. If you have a break between papers, take the rest of an exam day off. If not, give yourself few hours to recharge before hitting the books again. Use your time off wisely though. Take a walk, hit the gym, meditate or just catch up on sleep. Don’t spend this time watching TV or movies or on social media.
- Try Green – If the stress gets too much, head to a calm green place. Even merely sitting in a garden amongst plans relaxes you and calms you down. Study in a place like this if you can. You will find yourself concentrating much better.
- Work Smart – Before you jump into the books, plan out your schedule. Allocate a reasonable time for each topic and cover the most important topics first. Remember the Pareto principle? 80% of the exam questions would be from 20% of the syllabus. Make an effort to know this 20% and do that first. Knowing that you have covered the most important bit first will help you study the rest much better. Imagine the stress if the critical chapters are left for the morning of the exam!
These are tips that have worked for me while I used to study. Hope these help you too!