Oh, exam season! Without fail do they arrive and without fail is just how we attempt to get through them!
Exam season is a stressful occasion but this year with the added pressures of external influences and missed school time, it is not surprising if you are finding it that bit tougher.
If you are looking for some tips to get the most out of your last minute study then check out our advice here.
However, as you have possibly experienced, that study risks losing some of its benefit under exam conditions. This is particularly true if your stress overcomes your ability to perform. To help you keep your chin and your grades up, try these calming tricks!
Not the most thrilling start to this list it is true but it is the most beneficial. Our bodies often experience a physical response to worry or panic in stressful situations. This may include “butterflies in your stomach”, clammy hands and a heart that feels like it’s running a marathon.
Taking a few deep breaths is a deceptively simple way of alleviating these physical responses. It also tends to unconsciously support your mental reactions too.
Keep an eye on your handwriting
In an exam the declining state of your handwriting is often an unintentional indicator of your stress levels. My handwriting was atrocious on a good day. At the end of my English papers it was only just about legible!
It is crucial that you answer all of the questions but if the answers you write down cannot be discerned by the corrector then your effort is worthless. From a practical point keeping an eye on your handwriting will increase the likelihood of your answers being understood. But, maintaining a calm and poised writing approach will also benefit you from a confidence perspective.
Ignore everyone else
One of the tips we recommend when studying is to take the words of those around you with a pinch (or bucket) of salt! The rationale behind this concept extends to the actual exam too. Hearing someone else turn a page while you are still stuck at the top of the previous one can be disheartening. Similarly it can be easy to feel discouraged if the student beside you requests more paper while you are still struggling to complete your existing sheets.
Focus on quantity over quality and remember everyone’s exam technique is different. Some students allocate themselves a limited amount of time per page before moving on even if they are not finished. Others will start with their favourite questions regardless of where they are on the paper.
Teachers will often provide exam technique tips and these can be really helpful to take note of. However, every single tip will not suit every single student. Find the method of approaching a written exam that best suits you. This may take a little trial and error so try not panic if your first attempt doesn’t work out – that is exactly what these mid year assessments are for!
Employ tips that benefit your particular areas of need. If you often run out of time, be sure to wear a watch and assign yourself certain time frames for each section of the paper. Or if you often experience moments of insecurity or panic then note your strongest areas to help you get back on a positive track.
Having your own little collection of tried and tested tricks provides you with a mental folder that you can delve into at any point during an exam to calm yourself and give you a much needed confidence boost.
Have you any tips for keeping calm during school exams?