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Exams During COVID Times: Tips on Coping and Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Studying for your O, N, or A levels this year amidst the ongoing pandemic? How are you feeling about your upcoming national examinations?

If you are feeling particularly stressed out, anxious about keeping up with the syllabus, or worried about being sufficiently prepared for the exams, know that it is perfectly normal to feel this way in these difficult times.

As educators, we understand that the past two years have been particularly challenging for students – having experienced disruptive transitions between offline classes and online home-based learning.

And that is why we have put together a list of simple tips to help you cope and deal with some of these negative feelings healthily! Read on to learn more.

Focus on What is Within Your Control

In such times of uncertainty, it is common that many students (and adults alike) start to worry a lot about what could happen next, sending them into a negative spiral.

Will there be a school closure because someone gets COVID? What will happen to our classes? Will our teachers be able to finish teaching us everything before the exams? And so on.

But wait. These are things that we cannot control. No one knows how the future will pan out, so why worry about something when it has not happened yet?

Instead, try and focus on something that is within your control – preparing for the exams – and leave all the other worrying to the adults.

Create and Stick to a Daily Exam Preparation Routine

Establishing regular daily routines has been shown to have positive mental health benefits like reducing stress, alleviating anxiety, and preventing burnout. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect solution for a stressed-out student preparing for exams?

While there is no ONE perfect routine for everyone to follow, here are some possible steps you can incorporate into your daily routine:

  • Develop a simple morning routine that gets your mood up for the day – for example, preparing yourself a delicious breakfast or listening to your favourite playlist to start the day.
  • Create a study timetable with timeslots for each subject with scheduled study breaks (Tip: you can allocate more time to subjects you feel less prepared and vice versa)
  • Allocate specific time slots for social media or other screen time – which means no scrolling of TikTok, Instagram, or Reddit whilst revising
  • Incorporate a consistent sleep schedule so that you get enough sleep every day

Figure Out the Source of Your Stress and Anxiety

Depending on the reason for your stress and anxiety, you need to deal with it with different approaches.

If the source of your anxiety is due to the lack of confidence in a particular subject, then the solution would be to get the help required to help you clarify your uncertainty in the particular subject. In this case, resources like private tuition for guided learning or specific subject workshops could be helpful.

However, if the source of your stress is due to your parent’s expectations, then perhaps a helpful approach would be to have a chat with them about your feelings. Having an open discussion with them about the support your need from them will most definitely help bring down your stress levels.

Create a Comfortable Studying Area for Yourself

Due to government restrictions, many of you are probably spending most of your time confined to your homes – which may not necessarily be the most conducive studying place for you hence adding to your stress.

And that is where some creativity needs to come into play.

Here are some ideas of how you can creatively create a space that works well for your studying habits right at home:

  • Find a quiet space at home (if not invest in some noise-cancelling headphones)
  • Get a lamp or place your work desk near a window for proper lighting that keeps you feeling energized and awake
  • Arrange your study (and snack) supplies adjacent to your studying area so you will not be distracted by moving around to resupply.
  • Have a clock nearby to keep you on track with your daily schedule

Take Scheduled Breaks

Take it from us when we say it is almost impossible to sit down and cram information into your head endlessly. Breaks are required for our brain to rest in order to be able to start processing new information again.

Here are some easy activities you could try on your breaks:

  • Go for a short run or do some home exercises
  • Spend some time meditating to help clear your mind – try this simple app with short, guided meditation sessions perfect for that
  • Munch on low sugar snacks
  • Take a power nap – and remember to set an alarm
  • Indulge in a short anime episode

Share Your Worries and Concerns

Still feeling overwhelmed by negative feelings of stress? Having anxiety attacks just thinking about your exams? Don’t bottle it all up. Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, teacher, family member or even school counsellor can help.

Always remember that your mental health is of utmost importance – not the examinations. So, make sure you take the first step to help yourself by speaking to someone about your worries and concerns.

Want More Study Tips to Help Get You Exam Ready?

Hope that these simple tips will be able to help you and your fellow students tide over these tough times and do well in your upcoming examinations.

Interested to learn more study tips? Check out our blog for more useful resources: