Article by Two Wise Chicks
Post Design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by quinntheislander via @WordSwagApp (Pixabay CC)
It's exam season again, and we all know what that means...
It may be the dreaded Exit Exams, end of year exams, College exams - whatever they're called, it's no picnic - and for many of us it leads to feelings of panic.
We'll keep this short 'n sweet given that your eyes are probably weary from all the other reading (and breathing into a paper bag) you're doing. Our tips are evidence based and doable, and will help you feel less overwhelmed - promise.
1. Stick to your routine (studying, sleeping, eating) - now is NOT the time to make any big changes.
2. Use summary cards to whittle down your notes to key points. (Interesting fact: if you're dyslexic it really helps if you use yellow cards with red pen).
3. Eat - healthfully and regularly. 'Dieting' or otherwise restricting yourself in order to get your body 'beach ready' for the post-exam holiday is not a priority (see #1 above).
4. Sleep. You'll be tempted to pull all nighters. Understandable but ineffective. We need to have slept well to be able to reproduce learned material well.
5. Get out in the air. Exercise. If you feel too tired, it may be study induced inertia - get out and you'll notice your energy level will come back up. It will. And you'll think more clearly too.
6. Talk if (when) you are stressed, choose someone who will actually listen and be helpful.
7. Take a lot of breaks.
8. Study at a desk if possible, not in bed, or on a couch. (We have reasons for this but trying to keep this short ;)).
9. Wear the same perfume/ aftershave/ deodorant studying as when taking your exams (lots of scientific reasons for this).
10. Visualise yourself succeeding. Visualise yourself getting your results and being happy, getting that placement, result or even that job you want so badly. Mental rehearsal works (yes, there's proof of that too!)
1: Over-do caffeine or take vitamin supplements that you're not used to just because you heard or read somewhere that they help you concentrate.
2: Don't take those study drugs that people are trying to sell to students. All they care about is your money (goes for all drugs, but we digress...) and we know that the side effects can actually damage your performance.
3: Don't engage with relatives or adults who are pressuring you (as opposed to encouraging you) to perform well. They may well have their own regrets and are now foisting them on you. #NotYourProblem.
4: Don't tell yourself or others that you'll fail, not even jokingly. It's not kind and you wouldn't do it to someone else. It also falls into a negative mindset that can mess with your motivation.
5: Don't take fewer breaks now because you're running out of time. Now is the time for more breaks, because you're getting more stressed. It can feel counter-intuitive but it's true!
6: Don't talk to your friends before the exams if there's a chance it will make you anxious. It's OK to avoid people now unless they're supportive and calming.
It's always ok to limit exposure to people and situations that are not supportive...
7. Avoid chats, FB threads and friends who are panicking and negative and lying about how much work they've done ("I still haven't opened a BOOK!!" - Right? You know the ones..).
8. Don't stop having fun - TV shows, Netflix, music or socialising that makes you laugh or feel good, keep doing them. Just not too late at night and remember to give your brain screen time rest for 30 mins before sleepy time.
Students in their teens need 8-10 hours of restful sleep for optimum brain functioning. It's better to sacrifice study time than sleep time... it really is
Stay as present as you can, breathe....
You've got this - and we've got your back!
P.S. PLEASE add any tips you have that have helped you cope in the comment section below (you never know who you might be helping!).
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sally wants to help create a world of compassion for ourselves and others. A world where mistakes are allowed, gender roles don’t exist, sex ed in schools is a real thing and everyone dances – lovely! As a psychologist and psychotherapist in Ireland, she’s worked for nearly twenty years in private practice, with adults and trainee adults of all ages. She blogs on her own website, is a feature writer for super duper parenting website Voiceboks.com, does print and radio media work and has been known to Tweet. She’s the one running our Twitter page!
When she’s not working, you will find her engrossed in Science Fiction or some dark and Danish TV show, listening to music, watching the sea (while really, really wishing it were warmer), or figuring out how to work Lightroom on her Mac. All while munching on Bombay mix.
She’s happiest when dancing and erm…. her cat has his own Facebook page. We won’t link to that, it’s too embarrassing..
Tanya looks forward to living in a world where people know their worth, respect boundaries, and always have time for tea and chocolate. A magic bubble that protects her from sticky fingers, hormonal girls and dog hair would be awesome as well.
Her education and much of her training is in the areas of psychology and human potential. She worked as a licensed psychologist for over 14 years, with 10 of those years spent building her own successful private practice. In total, she has over 20 years of varied experience working, volunteering for non-profit agencies, and consulting to small business. Most recently she has launched her dream online coaching practice where she gets to work with motivated, amazing women who need help overcoming life’s hurdles. Exciting times!
She has lived in Ireland, Ethiopia (okay, just 6 months), Canada, and currently lives in central Texas with her husband, three girls (including fraternal twins), two dogs and three cats.
When she’s not finding ‘everyday moments’ to write about here or on herown blog, you can find her being walked by her dogs, unearthing unidentifiable food-objects under the couch cushions or baking her famous banana bread.
Tanya runs our Facebook page – and not to be outdone by Sally’s cat, her dog has its own Facebook page too.
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