Exam anxiety is perfectly normal – everyone suffers from it. However, some suffer worse than others, and I believe I was one of those people.
My first exam in a year and half was at the end of last year, and I was a mess. Even though I had revised for weeks in advance, I could not seem to remember a thing about the Modern English Legal System at all. Even on the morning of the exam, I was reading things I had read multiple times before, still unable to recall them thirty seconds later, and this only filled me with even more anxiety and stress.
Anyway, over the Christmas holidays I tried to make sure I would not make the same mistake again [*that of letting exams get to me so much*]. Although some nerves actually help you perform better, I was far from that point. My second exam in the January was a lot smoother because I told myself I would not allow myself to get too worried again. Results wise, I achieved the same grade for both exams – literally one mark apart. I had secured a First in both, but the difference between how I was feeling across the exams was shocking.
The first exam I was physically shaking, but the second I felt calm, collected and very prepared.
Down below I want to suggest a couple of things I did in order to get over my exam anxiety:
1) Make a revision timetable – planning is key. Give yourself enough time to where you feel comfortable tackling each module.
3) If you feel like you don’t understand something, seek advice from others. Your colleagues and tutors are there to help you. Don’t sit and struggle all day on something which could be solved in a few minutes by questioning someone else.
4) Take sufficient breaks. Schedule yourself a break [*or breaks*] to do something you enjoy. Whether that is exercising, browsing social media, reading a chapter of a new book or blogging. Also, wind down a couple of hours before you fall asleep.
5) Inhale/ Exhale. You’re getting stressed? Remember to breathe. Take deep breaths and lie down until you feel ready to start again.
6) Sleep well the night before an exam [*or at least try*] Do not cram late into the night. Sleep at a reasonable time. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you can take some time to revise, refreshed, instead of exhausted.
7) Eat foods which make you feel good, e.g. pasta, nuts, vegetables. Don’t skip meals because you’re “too busy” revising, or eat a crazy amount of junk food. Eating well makes you feel good, and if you feel good then it calms your worries.
8) Finally, remember you can always retake the exam at a later date. If by some chance everything goes wrong, there will most likely be an opportunity to try again. At university [*first-year*], if you fail a summer exam you can resit in September. And no one will think of you differently if you have to resit something.
Got a tactic that helps you fight exam anxiety? Feel free to share it in the comments below, or with a friend who is feeling nervous about exam season. 🙂