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May 26, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Tips for Exam Stress

Being a university student can be exciting, challenging, and stressful. With two weeks to go until the exam period, there’s a lot to be done completing assignments, preparing for tests and planning for exams. Here are a few tips to get you through:

Try to TAKE THE POWER OUT OF EXAMS –They are pieces of paper with questions on them designed to give you the chance to show what you have learned and thought about during the course. Can you see them as a challenge rather than a threat? If the level of tension you feel over exams gives you a sense of energy and productivity – great! This is useful. If the level of tension makes you feel unpleasantly anxious, or interferes with your thinking and planning, it is probably too high.

Here are some stress reducing ideas to try – experiment with what works best for you.

Exam Preparation:

Keep some balance in your life – rest, exercise, nutrition, sleep, social interaction, enjoyment, creativity can all give your brain sustenance and rest as well as provide stress relief. Have a realistic study plan that you are most likely to stick to. Study when your energy and attention are at their best. Include rewards and allow time for unanticipated setbacks. If possible choose an appropriate distraction free study environment. Put any unnecessary tasks, demands, or problems on hold until after exams. Inform friends and family that you are preparing for exams and let them know what support and understanding you need from them. Practise some relaxation, breathing and sleep management techniques. Ensure you have all the equipment you need. Be clear about the time, date and venue of the exams. Get familiar with general exam techniques. Have reliable ways of waking up on time for exams.

On the day of your exam:

By now you probably know all you can know!

Try to give yourself the best chance of remembering and focussing on the knowledge you have gained.

At this time, excess stress and worry can affect your memory, recall, focus and attention.

Consider when and what you eat and drink before the exam. What will best help you go the distance and have you feel as comfortable as possible? Being too hungry or too full can make a difference to your performance and concentration.

Be early enough to know exactly where you are going to sit the exam.

Have a brief walk, use the bathroom, do a relaxation or breathing exercise before you go into the exam room. If you can, choose the best place in the room for you e.g. back, front, middle, window, by the door etc. Take a little time to breathe and relax before the exam begins. Remind yourself you have learned all you can. Try to focus your thoughts on the exam. If you are distracted by worry or other things. Notice it, STOP and refocus on the exam paper.

Good Luck, it will soon be over.

How will you reward yourself?

The Counselling Service wishes you ‘well’ with your exams

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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