Tips for coping with exams
Coping with exams can be a challenging and stressful time for all students. As students enter their exam period including year 12 WAIS exams, we are sharing some tips to help them manage the stress and perform their best.
Create a study schedule that allocates enough time for each subject and topic. Stick to your schedule as closely as possible to ensure you cover all the material.
Break down subjects
Divide your subjects into manageable chunks. Focus on one subject or topic at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Begin with subjects that you feel comfortable in to create action which will lead to motivation
Practice past papers
Past exam papers are valuable resources. Work through them to get a sense of the types of questions that might be asked and to practice your exam technique.
Prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise. A well-rested and healthy body and mind perform better under stress.
When feeling overwhelmed, name the feeling to tame it. Take a break and complete some deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to reduce the feeling.
Maintain a positive attitude. Check in with your thinking to see what you are saying to yourself or about what you are doing. When we feel stressed we can be influenced by “black and white thinking” for example, “I am going to fail”. Notice this and try to reframe to a balanced thought, for example, “I can try my best”.
Remember, while each exam and your ATAR score might seem like the be all and end all at the moment, there are many different and viable pathways to get where you want to go. To help get perspective you can ask yourself “will this matter in a month from now, a year from now, 5-years from now?” or “will I remember this in a year or 5-years from now?”.
Form or join study groups with classmates. Discussing and teaching each other can reinforce your understanding of the material.
Use online resources
Explore online resources like educational websites, YouTube tutorials, and educational apps to supplement your learning.
Seek help when needed
Don’t hesitate to ask teachers, tutors, or classmates for help if you’re struggling with a particular topic or subject.
Regular revision is key. Don’t cram all your studying into the last few weeks. Spread it out over time to retain information better.
Keep all your study materials organized, including notes, textbooks, and stationery. An organised study environment can help you focus.
Set realistic goals
Set achievable goals for your study sessions. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small.
Make sure to schedule in time to spend with people you enjoy being around. Spending time with people we care about can help us de-stress and unwind.
Don’t study for extended periods without breaks. Short, regular breaks can help you stay focused and prevent burnout.
Exam day preparation
On the day of the exam, make sure you have all the necessary materials, arrive early, and stay calm. Review key points but avoid trying to cram at the last minute.
After each exam, take some time to relax and unwind. Don’t dwell on what you could have done differently; focus on the next exam or your well-deserved break.
Reach out for support
Talk to your friends and family about your stress and concerns. They can offer emotional support and understanding during this challenging time.
Plan for breaks
After your exams, take a well-deserved break to recharge. Whether it’s a short vacation, hobbies, or simply relaxation, it’s important to reward yourself for your hard work.
Remember that exams are just one part of your education journey, and while they are important, they do not define your worth or future success. Keep things in perspective, stay focused, and do your best. Good luck!
Written by Rebecca Jamieson, Clinical Team Leader/Senior Clinical Psychologist
If you’re concerned your upcoming exams, would like to learn more about coping with exam stress, or want to book an appointment with Rebecca Jamieson or another one of our experienced clinical psychologists, contact our friendly client team by calling 6143 4499 or email via our contact page.
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