Exam day: what to do and what not to do
As somebody who’s had their first, very stressful exam a couple of days ago, I know that the stress beforehand cannot be helped. No matter how many times you tell yourself to calm down, sometimes it’s no use, stress/worry/nervousness is a natural thing that happens to nearly everyone during this time period.
So why don’t we just take the advice we are given to decrease our stress? Well, when we are stressed/anxious, the stress hormones make us very susceptible to problems with recall, thus it is easy to forget these. However, since it is Mental Health Awareness Week, I feel that some of us need reassurance, support and tips to help us deal with the days where our revision really counts. Try to write some of these down or make a mental note (that hopefully won’t be affected by any anxieties)!
- – Go out an get some exercise in the mornings! A light jog or a swim is great for increasing the heart rate and releasing endorphins, making you more perspective and attentive. However, if you a little more lazy (like me), just taking a walk will do just fine.
- – Depending on the weather, take your revision outside! As a result, your eyes get a rest from the inside light and you will feel more awake from the melanin (the science behind some of these should encourage you even more!)
- – Plan ahead the day before the exam! Make sure you know: where is the exam? How are you going to get there? How long will it take? What do you need to take with you?
- Over-caffeinate on the day of the exam or during revision! Try reducing the caffeine up to the big day(s), as this will help avoid any caffeine withdrawal (the last thing you want is a tired, cranky and unattentive self!)
- – Pull all-nighters! Sleep is important for the body as your circadian rhythms can take a few days to settle so don’t wait until the night before to try and switch to the healthy sleep schedule, because it just won’t work or be good for you.
- Cram on the days leading up the the exam! On the days leading up the exam, do more structured revision (as opposed to just passively reading your notes etc.) and let your brain take a break. Cramming will not only tire your brain out, but also increase your anxiety levels, therefore making you more stressed etc.
Hopefully this will give you a guide to reduce your anxiety during these stressful times, as being overly stressed is not good for anyone! And for those of you lucky people that have finished your exams already, I am very envious!