Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Beat Exam Stress

AT exam time you really want your mind to work for you, to help you absorb information, remember and work with it to provide great answers to the questions. But for most students it is right at exam time that the mind fails them. It's called EXAM STRESS. Exam stress is caused by worry around exams. You may worry that you don't enough, or that you won't link the information to the question, or that you won't achieve the results you need. But the biggest worry at exam time is the fear that you might "go blank". Stress is not completely bad. You need some of it to make you productive. For example, imagine noticing that you have no food. That would cause you stress - and you would make a plan to find some. But constant stress is not good and doesn't work in your favour - especially when you need your mind to be sharp, focussed and on its best behaviour. The good news is you can do a few things to keep exam stress at bay and ace your exams. Right up front, the best way to beat stress is to know you are well prepared. If you have worked consistently and revised well, you will know that there is really no reason for you to worry. Exams are designed to reward consistent work and good preparation. Those who have not worked or prepared would probably have cause to be concerned, and so they will definitely stress on their way into the exam room - and that would worsen an already bad situation. There is no replacement for academic discipline when it comes to succeeding with exams and staying calm through the process. Work consistently through the year, revise thoroughly, be organised with your preparation such as having a study timetable, get plenty of rest and eat well and you should be fine. However, even the best students have experienced stress before exams. Sometimes the weight of expectation can be heavy. Your expectations of yourself, your family's expectations of you, the school's expectations and the need to do well in order to be accepted to the next level of study are enough to stress anyone. There is also the self-confidence factor. You may wonder, "Am I good enough"? You may doubt your ability even though you have proven it to yourself many times before. You may even doubt whether you deserve academic success. A lack of self- confidence can be crippling. It will add to any stress you have as you prepare for exams. So what can you do to conquer exam stress? Let's assume you have done the required work this year to achieve academic success. To make sure stress doesn't mess up what you have worked so hard for, add a few more skills to your arsenal. First, learn to relax. Your brain must be relaxed in order to function at its best, to take in information, recall it and work with it. So take time to "tune out", push the exams out of your mind and chill. Turn off the music and the cell phone, stay away from your television and your computer, don't get onto the social networks. All these things need your brain to work. You are trying to relax it - it needs time off. Sit down in a comfortable place, close your eyes, think about nothing but your breathing, let any thoughts you have drift away, and give yourself five minutes of brain recovery time. And try using visualisation. It is a powerful way of telling your subconscious mind to get with the programme and work with you. By visualising what you want, you give vivid instructions to your brain to find what you need to succeed. Most people who try this are surprised at just how well the brain guides you to where you have told it to take you. Spend some time with your eyes closed seeing your success. Imagine yourself in the exam room, calm and relaxed, feeling confident and answering the questions well. Imagine your goal, the results you want to achieve. See your report or your certificate showing the results you want. Allow yourself to feel the feelings you will have when you receive your results and you have done well. Perhaps even imagine yourself receiving an award, or telling your friends and family how well you have done. Bring all of your senses into the imagination exercise. See the exam room in your imagination. Smell the smells. Feel the certificate as you hold it and read your brilliant results. Hear the congratulations of your friends. And if there is anything appropriate to taste - go for it! Affirmations are a great way to boost your confidence. It works well with people who lack confidence, but even the most confident students can use a bit more of it. Take time to tell yourself how good you are. Yes, it will feel strange at first, and if you are naturally humble it could feel a bit uncomfortable. But you are a great person, so let yourself know that. Say things to yourself such as: I deserve success I easily understand what I am studying I can recall information clearly I am a successful student. Does it matter if you believe the statements to be true? No. Keep reminding your brain about them, and they will become true. Say the affirmations out loud to yourself as if you really, really believe them (don't do this in the exam room!), repeat each one of them five or six times before moving on to the next, and don't judge them, just accept them. Create your own affirmations, and enjoy using them. Be careful not to allow negative thoughts in when you are doing your relaxing, visualizations or affirmations. In fact don't ever allow negative thoughts in at any time. Your brain will take you wherever you want to go - to failure just as easily as to success. If you keep telling yourself you can't study, if you keep thinking you are going to fail, if you imagine yourself panicking in the exam room - your brain will take you right there. Some exam stress is inevitable. But you can control it. If you are well prepared, have allowed your brain time to relax, spent time imagining your success and have affirmed yourself as a good student, you will have no reason to stress at all. Jonathan Payne is a Hypnotherapist and Mind Management specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He works extensively with stress related conditions as well as assisting clients to overcome limitations by understanding where their minds are tripping them up. He teaches relaxation and centering techniques to help clients focus, get motivated, find purpose and succeed. He is available for talks and seminars to assist organisations with stress, motivation, focus and productivity. Article Source: Article Source:

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