The term ‘exam stress’ seems a glib and understated phrase to use for the pressures students everywhere are facing as they deal with exams. For generations so far removed from what today’s students go through, it simply doesn’t encompass the real troubles students can experience at this time. From that little knot in the stomach, to sleepless nights and real depression, exams can sometimes seriously affect the mental health of students.
Here’s how to put your worries aside and embrace the exam period as best you can.
The last thing you want to do when the sun is shining, and the weather is glorious, is hunker down and bury yourself in some study books. Surveys among students often show that motivation to get started is one of the biggest problems. It can quickly lead to anxiety and stress; that cloud of dread follows you around, getting bigger and bigger the longer you put off studying.
Chances are, a lot of your friends and classmates will be in the same boat. Creating study groups is a great way to motivate each other, and also a great way of studying. If somebody struggles with one thing, another may have a good solution.
How to study
Maybe studying with others doesn’t work for you, or maybe it just turns into a social gathering with little work getting done. Figure out what works best for you. Not everyone is academically minded, and more hours doesn’t always mean more studying.
If you are in the northern hemisphere, the sun has reappeared, flowers are blooming, and everywhere everyone is taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Everyone, of course, except for students across the world who are in the midst of dreaded exam season. Exams are an unpleasant but necessary part of the education system and are something that is unfortunately not suited to every learner. However, there are some tips and habits you can adopt to become a more successful exam sitter.
Organize your study space
It is said that a tidy desk is a tidy mind. For some of us this is true, while others thrive on organized chaos. Whatever your optimum space it, have it ready before you begin studying. If that means a clear area with minimal distractions, have a thorough clean up; if it means having all your little gadgets and essential tools spread out just how you like them, make sure you know where everything is.
You should also decide where you will be studying. Is there plenty of light? Is it quiet? Or do you prefer light music? Is it comfortable? It is usually best to separate your work space from your resting area – where you watch TV, listen to music, have lunch – so your mind gets used to knowing that when you are there, you need focus.
Use visual aids
When most of your studies involve note-taking and written forms of information, it can be a refreshing and much-needed change to create visual aids to help you. Be as creative as you can; create drawings, mind maps, diagrams, flow charts, whatever works for you. Use many different colors and surround your room with your creations. You can even try hanging some posters in the bathroom, so you can passively absorb information while you’re brushing your teeth and getting ready for the day.
Using accurate colors and layouts of information stimulate different areas of the brain, and can enhance your memorization of the main ideas and formulae. The benefits of visual learning are multiple, and you can read more about it here.