Let’s start by acknowledging that nerves are not a bad thing. A little stress can be just the right amount of pressure and the motivational push a lot of us need to get things done. When you combine exams with the rest of your daily responsibilities it’s easy for a little motivational push to turn into a crippling mountain of anxiety. Here are some tips to help you through these mentally taxing periods of your educational career.
Remember to Breathe
This may seem obvious. Yes, breathing is involuntary and necessary for survival, but intentional breathing in the form of meditation and mindfulness can help calm down your body’s stress response and shift your attention back to the present moment. Just ten minutes of calming the body will help the mind sort through the tasks that need to be completed and will give you a clear path on what to tackle next.
Eat, Sleep and Exercise Well
On top of everything else you have going on these tasks may seem low-priority, but poor diet, all-nighters and a sedentary lifestyle can increase the symptoms of anxiety. Give yourself the best shot at success by eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, getting active for at least 30 minutes a day and getting 8 hours of sleep minimum.
Set Realistic Goals
It is ok to take breaks when necessary or push off items that are lower on the priority list. Look at your to-do list, prioritize tasks and set a goal that is actually attainable. Acceptance of your situation and working within the realms of what you have maximizes your productivity without the risk of burn out.
Pace Yourself Through Panic
Feeling panicked before, during or after an exam is more common than you may think. Although it may seem impossible to get control of this feeling it is possible. First stop and take 6 deep breaths, have a few sips of water, and break down the problem at hand into manageable chunks. Do not look ahead at exam questions, this will only add to feeling overwhelmed. Remember there is a solution to every problem, even if you can’t see it at first glance.
Believe In Yourself
The mind is an extremely powerful tool and you will essentially believe what is on repeat in your mind. If you are telling yourself that you can’t do something then the chances are you won’t be able to. You prepared for the exam to the best of your ability and you showed up. Now give it your best shot and believe in yourself. You can do this!