10 Smart Ways to Manage Your Stress Levels During Matric Final Exams
1. Eat Properly
Your body needs the nutrients it gets from food in order to keep functioning properly. The food you eat affects how you feel both emotionally and physically. For example foods with lots of fats or sugars can make you feel heavy or sluggish. When our body has the fuel and nutrients it needs, it makes it a lot easier to manage feelings of stress and anxiety.
2. Look After Yourself
It’s easy to let exams get on top of you and forget to look after yourself. If possible, try to get good night’s sleep every night. A good sleep helps you remember what you learned. Physical activity, like running and swimming will leave you feeling calm, fresh and energetic for hours. So build exercise into your timetable.
3. Apply Relaxation Techniques
Reduce feelings of stress or anxiety when studying or writing exams by using breathing exercises. For example: take a minute to close your eyes, inhale for a count of three, then exhale for a count of five and then repeat. It only takes a moment and helps your body and mind relax so you will be in a better frame of mind to concentrate.
4. Use Distract Strategies
Use some distract strategies that can help you manage your stressful or anxious feelings such as using a stress ball, chewing some gum, sipping on ice water, using fidget toys such as an elastic band on your wrist or molding putties.
5. Have Positive Thoughts or Cheer-leading Statements
Combat worry thoughts or negative thoughts such as “I am going to fail” or “I can’t do this” with positive thoughts or cheer leading statements such as “I got this” or “I am going to try my best, I know my stuff”. Write these cheer leading or positive statements out and post them around your study area.
6. Pace Yourself Through Panic
Panicking before, during or even after an exam is common among matric students. If you experience it at any point, take six deep breaths, hydrate yourself, and then go back the problem at hand, being sure to break it down into several, manageable chunks. Remember that there is usually a rational solution to every problem, even if you can’t see it at first glance.
7. Manage Expectations
Pressure from other people around exams can be huge. This can be hard to deal with, especially from family and teachers. You need to remember that it’s your life and your exam, with you in control. If exams do not go as well as you hoped, there are always alternatives. It does not mean you are a success or failure.
8. Ask for and Accept Support
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to talk to a teacher or counselor. It’s also important to ask for or accept support from your family. This support might be practical, like picking you up from the library. It could also be emotional support, including advice.
9. Leave the Stress In the Exam Hall
There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Exams have a beginning and an end. The stress that goes along with them should end with the exam. Once the exam is over, there’s nothing more you can do about it. You should just try to relax afterwards.
10. Have Options for the Future
Getting the exam results you need for your first preference is great. But it’s not the end of the world if you do not. There are often other ways to get into the area you are interested in studying and working in. It may mean taking a year out and getting some practical experience or doing a further education course. You might consider repeating.