This is a guest post by Laurent Kelly. If you'd like to guest post on this blog, click here.
The effects of exam pressure can sometimes range from the disturbing to the downright surreal. The pressure of up and coming exams can cause a range of conditions from obsessively picking at one’s skin to a sleepless semi-psychosis, with the irony being that it is often the most dedicated students that experience the most pressure.
Sometimes the pressure is self-induced, and sometimes it comes from an outside source, which is usually the parents. Parents can sometimes unknowingly add to their child’s anxiety about exams and can cause a negative reaction in their child, even if their child is not normally of a nervous disposition.
Where is the pressure coming from?
Is it the parents' fault for putting too much pressure on the child? Does the student have too little exam experience? Is the teacher pressing the more intelligent students for results?
Is the person taking the exams already of a nervous disposition? There are many reasons why a person may feel exam pressure, but sometimes creating a coping mechanism involves nothing more than finding out from where the pressure is coming.
Alleviating stress with a structured studying process
As previously mentioned, it is often the most apt and dedicated students who worry the most about their exams. The students who skip lessons or students who do not concentrate in class are often less concerned about the outcome of their exams. Nevertheless, if a student is worried about exams then they are most likely under the impression that they do not know enough in order to get the grades they desire.
In many cases this is not true, because quite often the years of dedicated study has already laid a foundation of exam skills, written skills, and knowledge, to allow the student to score highly on any exam. Nevertheless, by creating a structured studying process, a student is able to relieve some of this self-induced pressure. The student’s main concern about not knowing enough is often squashed if the student knows that his or her studying process is productive, efficient, and actually working.
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle in the build-up to exams
A student’s priorities change when exams approach and some people take up a lifestyle that is very unbalanced and counterproductive. The student begins to focus too much on studies and school with the notion that doing anything else is a misuse of their time.
Students have been known to miss sleep, shun friends, eat poorly, and miss out on exercise. Even the most adaptable students will feel the negative effects of this within a few days. Quite often a student will feel some sort of burn-out, where he or she is too tired or stressed to concentrate on studying.
Though the amount of study and review will probably be stepped up during the exam season, a student should be encouraged to take breaks. A student should never miss any sleep, even at the expense of missing studying time. A student should eat correctly and try to take at least a little bit of exercise, even if this means walking the dog.
Social matters may not be at the forefront of the students mind, but some students have been known to feel isolated and alone when exam pressure starts to build. A quick visit from a partner or a trip to a friend’s house may help the student realize that there is a world outside their front door.
Coping strategies for numbing anxiety on the big day
The most effective strategy comes from acceptance. When exams roll around, a student needs to accept that nothing he or she can do now is going to increase their chances of getting a good grade. There is nothing that they are going to learn over the next few days that is going to bump up their grade, or stop them from failing their exams.
The student needs to accept that it is the work they have done over the previous years, and the foundation of knowledge that they have built, which is going to ensure that they pass their exams. Accepting the fact that the students ability to pass the exam is now out of their control is often a massive relief for the student.
Belief can be used to numb anxiety on the big day. Cultivating a belief that the exam is going to be easy for them will often turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Being sure that he or she will finish with time to spare is often such an absurd feeling that the student cannot feel anxious about the test.
A student should make two exciting life plans, one for if he or she gets his or her desired grades and one for if he or she does not. Being able to enter an exam whilst safe in the knowledge that failure still offers an exciting future makes it very difficult for them to become anxious about the exam.
This guest article was written by Laurent Kelly who works for UK Essays, an organization that provides assistance to students with its essay writing service.