The Commons
exam paperDoes your stomach lurch when you hear the word exam?
Does your mind go blank during an exam, but you remember everything as soon as you leave?
Are your exams stressing you out?

Here are some helpful tips for students during stressful times.


How to Break the Negative Cycle arrow View
All those worrying thoughts going through your head lead to feelings like anxiety, fear … which can lead to a poor performance on exam day.

There’s one place to take back control: your thoughts.

Practice Positive Self-Talk:
Instead of “If I don’t pass, I’m doomed”, try repeating “I’ve got this opportunity to prove myself, and I’ll do my best

Write your own positive script! It may sound simple, but it works! Try it!!
10 Tips to Help with Anxiety arrow View
Preparation - If your exam anxiety is caused by not being ready, try some of the tips for how to study smart. It can be very calming to know that you really know your subject well!

Perspective - An exam is one measure of knowledge in one course at one time, nothing more. It is not life and death. Think about what it will mean ten years from now to help you keep perspective.

Deep breaths - Simple, but effective. When you find yourself stressed, take ten long, deep breaths. It helps release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. It helps reduce blood pressure, and delivers more oxygen to the brain. All these help reduce feelings of stress.

“Data dump” - When you enter an exam, take 2-3 minutes to write on your exam those key things you might otherwise forget (e.g. formulas, conversion factors, difficult terms, a quick diagram).

Relaxation exercises - There are many options from simple deep breathing, to yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc. The important thing is to practice daily so that you can summon a state of relaxation when you need it.

Positive self-talk - When you feel anxious, write down some of the worrisome thoughts; then rewrite these in positive terms and practice thinking the positive versions. e.g. “I’m going to flunk!” rewrite to “I’m going to do my best!”.

Good nutrition & sleep – A healthy body is better at handling stress, so get a balanced diet and enough sleep (8 hours preferably) every day. Don’t forget to drink enough water!

Exercise - This is the body’s natural stress-reliever. Research shows that exercise helps your brain function better too!

Practice tests - Sometimes a “dry run” helps. Try writing answers to practice questions, even in the same room as the exam if you can arrange it.

Know when to get help - There’s a big difference between a little anxiety and panic attacks. If your anxiety is debilitating, consider seeing Counselling for more in-depth help.
Meditation to Reduce Anxiety arrow View
In a quiet place, sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Some prefer sitting on a chair with feet flat on the floor; others prefer sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Concentrate on a neutral word, mentally repeating the word with each exhalation of breath.

Empty your mind of everything but the word you’re repeating. When you find your mind wandering, bring it gently back to the word.

Start with just 5 minutes of meditation per day, and build up to 30 minutes per day. Release yourself from meditation slowly and gently.

Practice meditation every day so that you can summon relaxation at will (like during an exam!).