Exam time is perhaps the most stressful time in a student’s life. However, students who plan ahead and follow these five simple tips to help them reduce the stress and stay focused when studying will find that they can defeat test anxiety and earn good grades.
1. Eat the right foods. Yes, eating right actually does help your focus. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables for study snacks and eat balanced meals. It gives you energy and keeps your body from developing digestion-related issues that could break your concentration. While most students believe caffeine and energy drinks are the best method of staying awake for studying, excessive binging on these beverages can actually cause you to lose sleep.
2. Get plenty of sleep. Your brain cannot work at full capacity if you do not give it rest. While you may read through the material in an “all nighter,” you will find that without sleep your brain will have trouble recalling everything you read. Extracurricular activities are a wonderful break from studying, but too many activities can create more stress and rob you of the rest you need.
3. Study in groups. There may be some points in the text or lecture that you overlooked of which someone in your study group can remind you. A study group can also help you remain focused while studying. It is easier to remember the material in continued, after-class discussions than it is to re-read it the night before the exam.
4. Take breaks. Marathon studying may sound like a good plan, but the brain needs breaks throughout the day to process what it has learned and categorize it to be found later. Developing a study schedule that includes time away from studying is an ideal method of approach to allow yourself enough time to study and give your brain a rest.
5. Remember to breathe. Learning breathing exercises to reduce stress can help ease the anxiety of test taking. There are many meditation techniques to help you focus and keep the stress at bay. Exercise is also a good method of reducing stress. Take a jog or a brisk walk to clear your head. Breathing techniques and exercise help the blood flow in the body, which keeps it working at peak performance.
Remember to think positively during the exam. If you plan accordingly and treat your body right, you can avoid the stress of exams and earn the grade you want.
--Philip J Reed on behalf of the Westwood College technology degree program