Avoid cramming, reward revision and celebrate afterwards to beat exam fears

Stephen Coventry gives his top tips for the exam season

LAST UPDATED: 25 May, 2016 @ 15:19
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examTHE exam season is coming: “I must revise!”

This is true. It is also true to say that for many people any test brings its fair share of fear and anxiety. Everyone gets nervous; it’s a normal part of exams.

While it’s not so easy to stop feeling nervous, you can use relaxation techniques to keep your nerves under control and focus on what you want to achieve.

As Bayside and Westside students begin their GCSE exams this week, here are a few tips I can offer to control your nerves and do your best!

Before your exams:

Being prepared and doing the work will always help you feel more confident about sitting your GCSE exams. Do as much revision as you can. Do not leave it to the last minute. Cramming is a very risky strategy and will not help you remember things in the future

Celebrate your successes in revision tasks and give yourself a little treat

Meditation and exercise are great ways to help clear your mind, leaving you feeling refreshed and energised. Plan some exercise in the morning – if you start your day well, you are more likely to stay calm

Use deep breathing or chill-out music to relax your mind and body

Eat fresh food and drink plenty of water – too much coffee/Red Bull or fizzy drinks can make you feel anxious because they are stimulants. Never drink them last thing at night!

Use positive language with yourself and visualise your exams going smoothly

If possible, avoid classmates who are highly stressed or who want to talk about the exams. Sadly some people are stress transmitters and may affect your preparation

Ensure you get plenty of sleep. The brain files away all your revision and knowledge when you get high quality sleep. Lack of sleep will not help your exam performance

Plan your exam day so you feel in control; pack your bag the night before with pens /pencils, etc. allow for travel and proper meals

If possible – visit the exam room before your first exam.  Imagine yourself doing well!

Talk to your parents or teachers if you feel stressed.  Do not “bottle” it up – tell peoplem how you feel.

In Your Exam;

Breathe – take some deep breaths to relax your body and mind. This will really help if you freeze up or are struggling to get started

Focus on your paper. Block out the exam room and other students

Read the entire question paper, answering the questions you feel most comfortable with. By answering these first, you will feel more confident and settle into the rest of the exam

Stuck with a question? Leave it. Work on the next one and then come back to it

Remember, it’s not a race. You’ve been given a set amount of time – use it and make sure you answer all the questions you can

Keep calm. Use positive language with yourself; your nerves will pass and you’re not alone

After Your Exams:

Celebrate with friends and family!  It is tempting to go over (again and again) those things that may have gone wrong in your exam. Do not fall into this trap. Enjoy your summer and stop worrying.

If you get the grades you need, well done!  If you don’t, it’s not the end of the world.  Richard Branson, JK Rowling and Steven Spielberg are all people who failed exams or endured major setbacks in life.

Always remember the Chinese proverb, “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up”. Good Luck.





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