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How to Manage Stress Before a Major Exam

Stress before a major exam is practically a rite of passage for teens, but it doesn’t have to be your downfall. In fact, managing stress isn’t just about surviving — it can be about thriving too. Here are some tips that can help you do just that.

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Study to Prepare Yourself

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: preparation is key. You’re less likely to be stressed if you’re well-prepared. Create a study schedule weeks before the exam and stick to it. Divide your study material into manageable parts and conquer a little each day. Utilize tools like flashcards, study apps, or mind maps to summarize and absorb information more effectively. Practice previous years’ question papers and time yourself while doing it. This will not only make you more familiar with the type of questions but also help you get used to the pressure of time constraints. Also, ask for help when you need it; consult your teachers or classmates if you’re stuck on specific topics. A well-prepared you will likely be a less stressed you.

Use Relaxation Techniques

A healthy body can support a stress-free mind. Exercise can release endorphins, which are natural stress relievers. Even a 20-minute walk or jog can help. Meditation and deep-breathing exercises can also keep stress at bay. The idea is to focus on your breathing and block out distractions, which can lower your heart rate and relax your muscles. Aromatherapy uses natural scents to calm your stress and anxiety. Scents like lavender, chamomile, and rosemary can have a calming effect. Light a scented candle or use an essential oil diffuser while studying or taking breaks. Massages can also be a great way to relax; they can release muscle tension and improve blood circulation, making you feel more at ease.

Use Positive Self-Talk

The way you talk to yourself can influence your mindset and, in turn, your performance. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to fail,” shift your vocabulary. Say things like, “I am prepared for this exam” or “I can handle this.” Visualize your success; see yourself answering questions with ease and confidently handing in your paper. Positive affirmations can also be powerful. Write down motivational phrases or quotes on sticky notes and place them around your study area. Read them out loud when you feel stressed. The goal is to build a mindset that supports your success, not one that perpetuates stress or fear.

Stress, though a common experience, is manageable. The key is to prepare effectively, employ relaxation techniques, and nurture a positive outlook. These approaches are not mutually exclusive; rather, they complement each other. An effective study plan can make you confident, relaxation techniques can keep you calm, and positive self-talk can keep your morale high. Combine these techniques, and not only will stress lose its grip on you, but you might just find yourself looking forward to showing what you know on the big day.

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