Tips for Beating Exam Stress

Do you have exams pending? Feeling stressed? Here’s a few tips to help ease the pressure and help you achieve exam success.  

It’s been a few years since I sat my last exam but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember the stress and anxiety that use to go with it.

Don’t get me wrong, a bit of stress and anxiety before an exam can be a good thing because it helps keep you focussed and motivated to do the revision and work that needs to be done.  But too much stress can lead to feeling panicked and feeling overwhelmed and potentially underachieving in the exam.

So here are a few tips that can help you keep the stress levels under control and help you achieve your true potential:

Tip 1 – Breathing

A good breathing technique can be worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to exams, find one that works for you, that helps you relax.  If you don’t already have one, try the 7/11 technique I wrote about in my March 2015 How to Deal with Anxiety.  It’s a great technique which induces the bodies relaxation response and it’s so discreet it can even be done in the exam room or during a presentation.

Tip 2 – Regular Breaks

Take regular breaks, you wont be as efficient if you revise or work for 6 hours straight.  There are lots of suggestions out there as to how long to study before taking a break.  Generally, studying in one hour blocks has shown to be effective, so study for 50 minutes with a 10 minute break.  I use to find, studying for roughly an hour with a short break to make a cup of tea or something worked quite well.  I don’t know about you, but back then the thought of studying all day didn’t fill me with much joy, but knowing I only had 50 minutes to an hour and then having a break made it that bit easier – less overwhelming.

I also use to fit my studying around a TV show I wanted to watch (good old Diagnosis Murder, got to love Dick Van Dyke) or, if I knew I was meeting friends, I would make sure I organized my studying so these events fell on my break times or rest times.  So in a way, I was rewarding myself for the studying I had been doing, and for me, that worked really well.  Try it, if it works for you, keep it, if it does’t…don’t!

Tip 3 – Exercise Regularly

Exercising releases several important hormones which help you focus, feel better and release tension.  When we exercise, our body releases:

Serotonin; which is well known for it’s mood boosting qualities.

Dopamine; which affects learning and attention.

Norepinephrine; which influences motivation, perception, attention and arousal.

So exercising can help keep your stress levels down and help keep your energy levels and mood up, which lets face it when you exams looming, is always a good thing.  Charles H. Hillman, Ph.D., an associate professor of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois said the following

regarding exercise:

“Exercise improves attention, memory, accuracy, and how quickly you process information, all of which helps you make smarter decisions,”

So I think it’s safe to say, exercising if you have exams pending can only be a good thing.

Tip 4 – Sleep

Normally for students, not getting enough sleep isn’t usually a problem.  However during exam time, make sure you get plenty of sleep.  Not getting enough sleep can have a negative effect on your memory, which lets face it, that’s not what you need when you are trying to remember several months worth of work!  It can also increase your stress levels, and understandable, more stress is not what you need when you have exams around the corner.  So, all in all, it’s best to avoid the ‘all nighters’ and get a good night sleep.

I remember having to ban myself from doing any work an hour before I went to bed because I found it hard to shut my brain off and get to sleep.  If you find it hard getting to sleep after revising all day, try relaxing for an hour or so before bed and see if that helps.  In fact, I still have that same policy now.


How Can Cognitive Hypnotherapy Help?

Hypnotherapy for exam nerves can be very effective in helping you achieve the result you want in your exams, whatever shape or form it may be, from presentations to written exams.

Hypnotherapy for exam stress| Hypnotherapy for exam nerves
Curtesy of|Sara Haj-Hassan

Exam success isn’t just about being knowledgable and knowing the right material, your state of mind also plays a big part.  The ability to stay calm, relaxed, focused and confident all play a vital role in making sure you achieve your full potential in the exam and this is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy for exam stress can help.  I’ll teach you simple but effective techniques to help you reduce your stress and anxiety levels, so enabling you to stay calm, relaxed and focused in the exam and the time leading up to it.  Together, we will also work on boosting your confidence and self esteem, so enabling you to achieve your true potential.

If you are finding you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by your exams, be it school exams, university or a test at work, lets have a free confidential chat to see how I can help you get the result you want.