Hi there, thanks for your visit. 50% of profits from ‘Stay Calm and Content’ are going to counselling charities, so I am very grateful to those of you who can help to spread the word about it. Twitter @catstaycalm Facebook: Stay Calm and Content . Here is the article, enjoy! Cat xx
How to stay calm under exam pressure
Exams can pose a threat to our self-esteem (a combination of self-confidence and self-worth) because we might be worried about how well we will do, how our result might affect our plans for the future, or what other people will think of us if we fail or don’t do very well.
‘Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem’ Eric Hoffer
Those people who handle the pressure of exams the best are those who can act as if they are confident or ‘don’t care’. Their secret is that they remain in control of their self-esteem before, during and after an exam.
Why do we feel afraid?
When we doubt our own ability in some way then we are being ‘threatened’ by our own thoughts, and our brain responds by triggering our ‘fight or flight’ reaction which causes a physical and hormonal response. Our hearts might beat faster, we might feel ‘twitchy’, or our mouths might go dry, and we will feel stressed, nervous, fearful or anxious etc.
If we are unaware what generates these feelings, then we will also be unaware that our subsequent actions are attempts to protect or repair our self-esteem. We do what makes ourselves feel better, maybe try to forget about the exam by distracting ourselves with something else, or wear ourselves out with hours and hours of revision without adequate breaks etc.
How to revise effectively.
– First of all accept who you are and the point you are at today. Wishing you were better at a certain subject, or wishing you had done more work before now is unhelpful, you can do your best from now onwards if you focus on today; leave the past behind and don’t worry about the future, that will take care of itself. – Have the self-confidence to ask for help from teachers, parents or friends. – Make a revision plan. Plan in adequate breaks and think about the activities or people that make you feel ‘at your best’, don’t ‘let these go’ whilst you are revising, you will need them to maintain your self-confidence and self-belief.
What to do ‘on the day’.
– Take slow, deep breaths and imagine that you are breathing in self- confidence and self-belief, and breathing out self-doubt and criticism. – Use any ‘good luck charms’ which might help you to feel confident and calmer. – Dress in a way which helps you to feel smart, confident and good about yourself. – Treat yourself before the exam, perhaps a nicer breakfast or lunch than usual, or something else which will help you to feel good. – Plan a small treat for after the exam. – Repeat these phrases to yourself as often as necessary, until you feel calm: “I have done my best, even if I feel I could have revised more, feeling this way is normal” “I will be okay, whatever happens, this exam will not be the only defining point in my life, I can only do my best and accept the result” “I am no worse, or better, than anyone else, whatever my or their ability is, I do not need to be defined simply by how I successful I am in an exam, there is more to me than that”. “I will do well, I can do this, I can remain calm and confident”.
If you feel panicky before or during an exam then remember that fear is stimulating your ‘fight or flight’ response and causing you to feel this way. You can control your fear by repeating the breathing techniques and phrases above until you feel calmer and more confident.
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