PSLE may be over but the war may have just begun for O-level & A-level students!
At this crucial period of time, faced with a mountain of reading and revision to be done and the paralyzing pressure of deadlines, expectations, and aspirations, it is no wonder you may begin to feel a little overwhelmed.
And before you even think about it, it’s really too late to be finding home tuition at this point.
Exam time is when everything we’ve been working hard for either pays off or crashes and burns. It’s natural to be stressed and anxious! If you find yourself feeling this way, don’t beat yourself up. You can be sure you’re not the only one!
Now before you drive yourself up the wall while trying to bombard your brain with heaps of information, this article will teach you four fantastic, easy to implement ways to beat the blues at exam time. Follow these tips and you’ll be feeling brighter and better in no time at all.
Are you ready to give the exam-time blues the boot? Keep reading!
How to Beat the Blues Before they Beat You
Are you suffering from reduced appetite, anxious thoughts, disturbed sleeping patterns, worries about the future or unstable moods and reduced energy?
Then there’s a good chance that the stress of upcoming exams and essays are getting the better of you.
Luckily, there are pro-active ways you can take back control and begin to feel on top again.
1. Plan Properly
The feeling of anxiety and stress stems from feeling that things are out of your control. It’s when you’re stuck in traffic, put in an unfamiliar situation you didn’t choose to be in, or are forced to complete tasks you don’t feel ready for or capable of completing that stress and anxiety raises its ugly head.
The common denominator in all of these situations is a feeling of powerlessness or being overwhelmed. It’s the feeling that you aren’t able to control the outcome which triggers anxiety.
When it comes to exams and revision, however, you have to remember that the outcome is entirely in your hands. Creating a study timetable is the first step to taking back control and feeling in charge. When you begin to organize your study schedule and stick to it you will begin to feel that things are within your control again.
For some more top tips on getting organized and planning your studies effectively, you can read this informative piece by the University of Reading. While this is aimed at University students, high-school students can benefit from this advice as well.
Effective time management and a plan of action will greatly reduce your stress and anxiety and elevate your moods.
As author Michael Altshuler famously said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot”.
2. Reach Out
There’s no burden in this world that won’t be lightened by sharing it with friends, family or someone you trust.
If you feel overwhelmed, confused or anxious, talking about it can bring about immense relief. If you have nobody to talk to in your current situation you can try connecting with friends online or even keeping a journal or digital diary to express your thoughts.
Expressing how you feel through talking or writing is often enough to feel better in itself. An added benefit of talking about your problems is that your friends and trusted confidants will most likely also be going through the exact same thing and will be able to relate.
Sharing your problems with your close friends can also help you see things from another angle or perspective. Perhaps a friend or classmate will have a different way of doing things which will make things easier, or a sense of humour which will make your problems seem smaller and lighten your mood.
Talking things through or writing them down is a very effective way to process and organize information and release the emotional anxiety or stress you may be feeling.
After a great chat, you’ll feel much better! During study time make sure you schedule a break to connect with friends and socialize.
3. Keep Perspective
One of the biggest problems we face at exam time is the sheer enormity of the task we face in revising all of the necessary subjects and remembering all of the information required to ace your exams. You can probably relate to this feeling, can’t you?
At the time, this can seem like an almost impossible task. When you begin to feel overwhelmed and discouraged it helps to gain some perspective and look to great achievements from the past for inspiration.
Try to think about things on a longer timeline. Will this really matter that much in ten, twenty or thirty years? If you don’t ace just one subject or don’t score an absolute perfect mark will it really ruin your life? Probably not! Nobody is perfect at everything and as life unfolds you will find ways to leverage your strengths and focus on what you’re good at. In your weaker areas, all you can do is try your best, right?
Thinking about things in this way can make the enormous tasks we face seem smaller and less intimidating. You can reflect that while you may not be a mathematician you can do enough to get a decent grade and focus on really excelling in the areas in which you feel naturally talented or enjoy.
One great visualization method is the “jet-pack” thought experiment. Close your eyes and imagine the huge pile of books and you sitting beside them, feeling anxious. Now imagine you have been given a jet-pack. Strap in and take off, slowly rising out through the ceiling. Look down – do your problems seem so big now?
Rise a little further until you can see the rooftops of your home and surrounding areas. How about now? Are these problems really that big? How about when you shoot off into the stars and are looking down on the world? There’s a good chance by now you’re feeling better and realizing the seemingly enormous tasks we face are not so big and scary after all!
This is not to take away from the importance of studying hard or working diligently to achieve our best grades. It’s a simple exercise to help us regain perspective and realize that in the grand scheme of things we will get through this and life will go on.
When a reporter asked Sir Edmund Hillary how he managed to climb the mighty Mount Everest, he replied, “One step at a time“.
That’s great advice from one of modern history’s greatest men, don’t you think?
4. Ask for Help
If you’re really struggling with a certain subject and just can’t get your head around it no matter what, you always have the option of asking for help.
Approach your teacher or a family member or friend and tell them you are struggling and are eager to do well in this subject. Perhaps they know someone who understands the subject and can help you get a grip on it.
Tutors and teachers will always respond positively when they see a student who is keen to make an extra effort to get a good grade. As long as they see you making the effort they will often be happy to take the extra time to help you pass with flying colours.
Many schools and colleges have a ‘study buddy’ program which allows you to ask a senior for advice and help if you need. Learning from someone who has already passed the subject you are struggling with can help you to feel that you can do it, too. Is that an option at your school? If so, take full advantage of it!
Don’t be afraid to ask or seek for the extra help you need. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to lend a hand to someone who has the right attitude and wants to do well. You can also find PSLE, O-Level, or A-Level Tuition.
Nobody is going to deny that essays and exams are stressful for any student who cares.
You’re not alone in feeling stressed and anxious and it’s important you follow the actionable steps above to beat the exam-time blues.
Talking about it, keeping perspective, focusing on what you are good at and asking for extra help will all go a long way to helping you tackle those inner gremlins of self-doubt, stress, worry, and anxiety.
You now have the tools to beat the blues. It’s up to you to use them!