It’s More Than Just Exams – Understanding and Dealing with Exam Stress
With the GCSE and A Level exams looming, it’s interesting to see how different students deal with the pressure of the exams. It’s definitely a tough time, and it’s what you have been working for, for a year if not two. We’re going to help you understand what is really happening and how to deal with the next few weeks.
With a month to go, you meet three types of students:
The All Year Panicker – Regardless of the exams being a month away, even 6 months away, this student loves to panic. Therefore working 24 hours in the day until they stress out even more is the only way they feel is the way to go.
The Late Starter – ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ was the phrase for about 7 months, and then the realisation kicks in that the exams are close. Doing it tomorrow isn’t an option anymore.
Fail Anyway – ‘I don’t really care; I’m going to fail anyway’. We all know you really do care!
And finally, you have your minority of students, who are actually feeling okay, and up for it! That’s what we are going to get you to become.
So for a moment, just stop. Read this carefully. Look how much you’ve done and achieved over the two years. GCSE exams are more than just exams, they are journey. You learn an unbelievable amount about yourself as well as transferable skills to use in your daily life and further education. Look at how much information you have taken in, I know midway through the year you said to yourself you wouldn’t be able to do it, but look at yourself now.
Well done! A bit of self-reflection is never a bad thing, now, let me give you a few key tips to battle these next few weeks.
1 – You have more time than you think – break down every day into hours. Look at when your exams are and look at your time in between them. Maybe your exam is in the afternoon, you could get up in the morning and do some last minute reading just to go over the key points. When you finish an exam, you also have the whole evening following that to get ready for the exams the next day. (If you’re finding that hard to do, call us, and we’ll help you do it for free).
2 – Organise everything – you don’t have a lot of time to sit and think about doing things, you just need to do them. So before you get to crunch time, decide what you’re having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what you need for the exam, how you’re getting home.
3 – Time Out – Use some part of your day to just sit and breathe. You’re going through a tough time now, but it will be over soon and the hours of work are so worth it. (Being only 23 years old, I know exactly how it feels). Let me just remind you that the feeling of finishing, is better when you know you’ve earned it.
4 – Don’t Take Notes – The worst exam technique to practice at the moment is to take notes. You’ll stress yourself out. Do exam questions and look at mark schemes for model answers.
5 – Ask for Help – Remember your parents, tutors and teachers are here for you at this time. They know it’s tough and they want you to do well. If you’re stuck on something then ask for help, it’s time to put away the ego, be brave and just speak to people when you’re struggling.
Finally, my biggest tip to anyone going through anything is . . .
Mindset – To be able at any moment, to give up what you are now for what you will become. For just this moment in your life, prioritise your exams and your studying and realise that you CAN do as well as you hope to do. Say to yourself before every exam, that you ARE going to put your best into it and then WHATEVER happens, you did YOUR BEST. There is no mountain you can’t overcome, you’re better than you think you are.
Keep working hard, you’re doing a great job.
Adam wants to talk to you about how he is feeling about exams and what sort of things he has done to overcome the issues he’s come across.
Exams are stressful, let’s be perfectly honest. Everything Umar’s already said is definitely going to help you through your exams with minimal stress but what I think especially helps me is working for it. I find that the only thing that’s really easing my nerves is working, the more I do the more relaxed I feel.
I’m not saying that the only way to not freak out about your exams is to lock yourself in your room and stare at a textbook for the whole day because that’s not going to solve anything, but feeling more on top of things by either finishing a topic or completing a paper is going to help you feel more relaxed.
As Umar said, now’s not the time for notes and he’s old me personally before that what got him through his exams was looking over and memorising mark schemes, learning how to word answers and just what the examiner wants.
I also think that no matter how much work you do, how calm you’re feeling right now about exams or how stressed you are, it’ll end out just fine.
The fact that you’re reading an article right now about how to deal with exam stress shows that you’re heading in the right direction, these are your exams, not anybody else’s’. Your parents and teachers can tell you all day about how much work you should be doing or how much previous years have done, these are your exams and it us up to you to prove to yourself what you can do.
Whatever you want to achieve with your exams is achievable and the only person who’s going to get you to achieve that is you, that’s the entire point of exams. So get off twitter, take a breather and crack out the past papers; they’re not going to do themselves.
We are always here to help and if you need someone to speak to through the exams call us or email us with the details below
Telephone: 01494 416110