An Essay On Examination Stress

Examination Pressure On Students 

Examination pressure on students can cause a great deal of anxiety. Anxiety can hit you at the worst of times. It can happen in the middle of a meeting at work, during the recital that your child is performing in, or while you're just out shopping. When it happens, you hope the feeling will pass quickly, and that nobody else will notice. If you do suffer from anxiety, you're far from alone - many people suffer from this condition, and those that do often in silence.

While anxiety is often triggered by specific stress-inducing events and situations, it can also sometimes happen without any apparent cause. The symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person, and even with the same person can be different from one attack to the next. Some of the things commonly associated with anxiety attacks include breathlessness, a feeling of tightness in the chest, confusion, dizziness, a heightened heartbeat, a queasy or upset stomach, and a general desire to escape. It's no surprise, therefore, that anxiety can be a scary and debilitating condition to those that suffer from it.

There are, however, things that individuals can do to in order to make anxiety easier to endure, and the foremost thing is to understand the anxiety's root causes. This approach, recommended by many therapists, generally begins with identifying the thoughts and feelings that immediately preceded the anxiety attack. Making a note of what the environment was like may also be helpful. It can help to drink tea or water during stressful times to keep your body and brain functioning.

After you have determined what the cause of the anxiety is, you should try challenging it. If, for instance, it is caused by a fear of danger, just stop and ask yourself if you really are in danger. You should keep in mind, however, that while understanding its causes may make anxiety easier to deal with, it won't necessarily make it go away entirely. If you struggle with anxiety, you should not be ashamed to seek help if you need it.

It is important for students to realize that as exams approach it is in their best interest to find ways to recognize examination pressure and to properly deal with it. Taking frequent breaks during studying can be of great assistance. It is also good to realize that the root cause is examinations and to try challenging the cause of your stress a little at a time.

Exam stress affects most students in varying ways. It is important to manage this stress and find little ways of helping to eliminate the risk of burnout. 

For some students, exams can be a breeze; revision is second nature to them and they could ace an exam with their eyes closed. But for others, sweaty palms and heart palpitations are just a part of the territory, and it seems that nothing is more impossible than sitting down and revising. Here are some handy tips that can help to dissipate stress and make sure you can get through exam season. 

1. Take regular breaks and schedule in fun things to look forward to

Even the most intense exam timetables will allow a little time for a study break. This can include 20-minute breaks during your revision day, and longer activities that you can look forward to. Go out for dinner with friends, go to the cinema, attend a gig, anything that you like doing in your spare time that will take your mind off exams. Spending a little time away from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed the next time you revise.

2. Exercise and get outdoors

Easily one of the most frustrating things about exam season is that it seems to occur just as the weather brightens up. Use this to your advantage and go out for a walk, or a run, or head to the gym or swimming pool. As well as keeping you healthy, exercise is known to boost your mood and can help to make you more productive while revising. 

More exam resources

Video: 10 common Exam Results Day questions - answered
How to deal with stress over exam results
How to survive A-level Results Day
How to deal with pressure at university

3. Don’t (always) listen to others

As the old saying goes: "comparison is the thief of joy". While it is helpful to discuss topics with fellow students and often to revise together, try not to compare other peoples' revision to your own. Chances are you’re doing just fine, and listening to other people talk about what they’ve learnt will only stress you out and may make you feel like you aren't progressing as well as them. Plus, if they themselves are stressed this can rub off on to you and other people’s stress is not what you need right now.

4. Speak to someone

If the stress gets to a point where it is overwhelming, and is affecting your day-to-day life, try and speak to someone about it. Your university or school should have a service where you can speak to people about your concerns, and will be able to offer more advice on how to manage it. If that seems like too big a step, open up to a family member or a friend about the pressure you feel. You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.

10 quick ways to help eliminate exam stress 

  • Watch a film, a TV show or listen to a podcast or comedian that makes you laugh.
  • Drink some herbal tea or a hot chocolate. It’s a well known fact that hot drinks are known to soothe the soul (avoid too much caffeine though!).
  • A shower or a bath can help to relieve stress.
  • Cook or bake something. Just the thought of having something delicious to eat can bring you joy. As a bonus side note, try and cook something healthy too. You can’t feed your mind well, if you don’t feed your body well.
  • Get some sleep. The virtues of a good night’s sleep during exam season should not be underestimated.
  • Keep things in perspective. Yes, exams are important. But you are so much more than your exam results.
  • Avoid other stressed people. You know the ones I mean. The ones with cue cards outside of the exam hall, frantically trying to remember key dates and equations. They will do nothing for your stress levels.
  • Avoid the exam "post-mortem”. You don’t need to know how other people fared in the exam. You’ve done your best, you can’t go back and change your answers so the second you step out of the exam hall, focus on your next exam.
  • Be flexible. While having a revision time table is one of the best tools in your arsenal for exam success, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to it. If you accidentally oversleep, don’t write the day off.
  • Write down everything you feel like you need to do and try and tick one thing off. Just the act of feeling like you are in control of your revision can help. 

Read next: 5 revision tips to help you ace exam season

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