Are your parents placing high expectations on you, which makes you feel stressful because you don’t want to let them down? To be honest, Singapore’s education system is highly competitive. To ensure that their child succeed in life, parents tend to set high expectations. Without a doubt, stress can be good — in motivating you to do well in your academics. However, putting too much stress on yourself can backfire and affect your performance. Here are some tips to manage study related stress, so that you can learn more effectively without too much stress.
#1: Prepare and start early
Do you have the habit of preparing for test or exam at the very last minute? This is one of the reasons why students often experience massive stress. Time for you to quit this bad habit. Plan your study schedule a few months in advance, and start your revision early to get yourself fully prepared. Stick to your regular study schedule and create good study habits. Make sure you master the weaker topics and clarify any doubts with your school teacher or home tutor.
#2: Study breaks
Taking short study breaks helps to concentrate and retain information better. Include short break of about five to ten minutes in between your study sessions. If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information in your textbooks and notes, I suggest that you take a break from your revision. You will be surprised by the effectiveness of study break. Make use of the break to clear your mind and have a quick recharge. You will feel clear headed and less stressful.
#3: Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Lack of nutrition and adequate sleep will affect your ability to focus and concentrate. Avoid eating junk food while studying or pulling all-nighters before exam. They are bad for health, causing damage to brain cells especially and would often lead to pre-exam jitters. Watch your diet and consume superfoods such as fruits and yogurts. Superfoods boosts your brain power and memory, while reducing stress. You could further reduce stress by adapting a regular exercise routine. It can be cycling, swimming or any exercise that you enjoy doing. Relax your mind and boost your energy before you carry on with your revision.
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” Attempt past year paper, practice paper and assessment books. Circle the questions that you don’t understand and clarify it with your school teachers or someone in your study group. If you feel that you need extra help, hire a private tutor to help you with your revision. Understand the way they work out the answer and tackle similar questions to gauge whether you have fully understood the concept. With all the help you need, I am sure you will be ready for the exam without feeling anxious.
#5: Be confident
If you have prepared for the exam, you shouldn’t be panicking. The more you panic, the more you would blank out during exam. If you are feeling nervous, take slow and deep breaths to calm yourself down. Be confident in yourself and put in your best effort. One way to build your confidence during exam is to tackle questions that are easy before moving to questions that are challenging. By the time you work on the difficult ones, you will feel more confident as there is no lingering fear of something else still not done.
#6: Talk to someone
If you can’t handle the stress, confide in people around you and ask for help. They may have some advice which will be useful for you to cope with the current stress. Sharing your woes with others helps to relieve stress, where you would feel much better and less anxious than before.
#7: Set realistic goals
Be realistic with the target and expectations you have set for yourself. If you scored a B3 for English in the previous exam, striving for A1 this term is reasonable. However, you should not overdo it by aiming for A1 for all subjects, if you know that you will not be able to achieve it. By doing so, you are creating stress for yourself, which will lead to a loss of productivity and motivation.
#8: Be focused
Some schools adopt this motto – Work hard, Play hard. The underlying meaning is to focus on whatever you are doing and nothing else. For example, during chemistry revision, do not think about your other worries like Maths or English. Put your mind in chemistry and chemistry only. In this way you will find that you can achieve your revision goal in a shorter time period. Ultimately, you save up more time for other subjects and all the revision will seem more manageable.
Follow these tips and you shall be more mentally prepared for examinations in a relatively stress-free state of mind.