If you are showing one or more of the following symptoms, then your stress levels have become too high and may prove detrimental to both your health and performance in the exams.
Dealing with stress under pressure is easier said than done. However, one needs to get rid of excess stress in order to stay grounded and normal and to perform well in the exams. Here are some tips that will help you deal with examination stress:
Exams might seem like the be all and end all of your world right now, but to deal with them better, you have to understand their role in the larger scheme of things. Every time you feel stress getting the better of you, remind yourself that at the end of the day, an exam is only a test of whether or not you know the answers to a certain list of questions. It is never going to be the end of the world!
Remember that the people around you who have very high hopes and expectations for you have them because they believe that you are capable of achieving such goals. Think of expectations as a positive thing that points to the great potential that you have in you. However, if you find expectations bogging you down, then talk to the people who have high hopes for you — your parents, siblings, peers, companion. Tell them that while you will do your best, they should be happy with whatever results you get instead of expecting you to be the best out of everyone. Have a little chat with them that gets expectations closer to reality, so that neither you nor they are disappointed when the results are out.
Everyone is different and their goals regarding exam performance should also be different. While the class geek might aim to top, the jock who excels at sport might just be happy with passing. Set your goals keeping in mind your talents, your potential, your interests and your own personal nature. Being realistic will help you minimise both pressure and stress.
Once you know exactly what you want from your exam results, and what you are ready to put in, start planning. Create a structured timetable where you allot everything that you need to go through an adequate amount of time, and make efforts to finish off with each topic within its allotted time. If you do not have enough time, prioritise topics based upon inputs from teachers, seniors and previous question papers. Make sure that you have enough breaks in your time table for relaxing and eating.
Don't feel guilty about taking breaks, even if your exam is on the very next day. Breaks let you keep stress levels under control and help in better assimilation. Taking a small break of five to 10 minutes every 45 minutes to an hour is fine as long as you give full concentration to your books while they are in front of you. Call up a friend, watch TV, eat a healthy snack, go for a small walk…do anything that relaxes and calms you.
Keep talking to people who have been through or are going through the situation that you are in. However, avoid people who psyche you out with their talks of, "Oh, I have just revised that five times", or "XYZ (whatever topic you have not even touched) is the only thing that is going to come in the papers." Talk to people who are positive, helpful and can guide you both practically and psychologically.
Treat your body well and it will treat you well. Keep eating healthy meals on time instead of surviving on tea, coffee or aerated drinks. Sleep at least six to eight hours even during exams, and take time out for regular exercise. Remember that exercise is a great stress buster and even 10 to 20 minutes every day will help you stay sane and happy.