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How to Cope with Exam Stress: Tips to Survive Any Exam!

January 12, 2021 | By Yi Xuan

Exam stress is real! And you are not alone. A most recent 2020 survey by Focus on the Family Singapore, revealed shockingly that a majority of Singaporean youth (7 of 10 to be exact) are more anxious about taking exams than dealing with the COVID-19 situation.

If you belong to the majority of students who are consistently under exam stress, be it studying for ‘O’ Level or ‘A’ Level examinations and are looking for ways to cope, you are in the right place!

With the help of extensive online research, fellow student validations, and even inputs from our tutors, we have put together an essential list of tips to help any Singaporean student cope with their exams – be it a quarterly weighted assessment, mid-paper, or the all-important end-of-year exams.

Remember to save this link for future reference!

  1. Set Realistic Goals

The first and most important tip is about goal setting – and critically, setting realistic goals.

Many students end up getting overly stressed out by setting overwhelming unattainable goals for themselves at the start of the year. And as the year progresses, feel increasingly stressed when they realize the end goal is getting even further away.

For example, if you failed a particular subject last year, an unrealistic goal would be to score an A for this coming year. A more realistic goal would be perhaps to improve the overall score by [ a reasonable number of marks].

Having a more attainable goal will help you feel motivated towards achieving it rather than procrastinating because you do not think it is possible.

Tip: Break down your long-term goal into smaller goals – for example, to increase your score for each quarterly weighted assessment by 10 marks each time.

  1. Get the Help You Need

If your stress is due to difficulty in understanding concepts or topics, then make sure you get the help you need early on! Do not wait until the day before the paper to clarify your uncertainty.

Depending on how much guidance you require, and urgency to clarify a particular concept, you can choose from plenty of resources out there that can help you better understand the subject:

Tip: Do not leave it till the eleventh hour to seek help, it is usually not as effective and does nothing much to help with stress.

  1. Start Revision Early

This is a very practical piece of advice that if adhered to can do wonders – but many students fail to realize its importance, resulting in scrambling to do last-minute revisions which create unnecessary stressors.

Starting revision early – instead of a few days before your examinations – help immensely in reducing anxiety levels for a few simple reasons:

Doing so helps to build confidence in the subject, which effectively allays any anxiety or fear when it comes to the actual assessment.

Tip: Do up a revision schedule or timetable so you can plan out sufficient time for each topic/ subject.

  1. Find a Conducive Environment to Mug

An unconducive environment can result in distractions, impairing your cognitive ability, which is not effective for helping you retain the information that you are studying.

So, make sure you find a conducive, non-cluttered environment that works well for you. Or even a reliable study partner, should you study better with a peer.

Need some help finding a conducive study spot? Check out our “Guide to The Best Conducive Study Spots in Singapore for Students”!

  1. Get off Your Phone

Speaking of distractions that cause more stress during the exam periods, of course, we have the mobile smartphone on our list. Sleep deficit, anxiety, and stress are common symptoms of high mobile phone usage.

Our tip? Turn off your smartphone, or at the very least reduce your mobile phone usage (especially during late nights) while you mug to help reduce your stress levels!

Need help staying away from those distracting apps and social media? Try out these interesting solutions:

  1. Take breaks

This is something students tend to forget to do when they are in the midst of revision. Taking a break has plenty of benefits:

So do not forget to incorporate simple, frequent water or meal breaks in between your mugging sessions to help relieve your stress levels.

  1. Get Enough Sleep, Exercise, and Food

Eating healthily, getting enough exercise and sleep are critical to keeping your body in tip-top condition – and a good way to keep stress at bay. Learn about the science behind it here!

So, make sure you set aside enough time in your revision schedule to incorporate sufficient sleeping hours, exercise breaks, and eating healthy meals!

Do you have other tips that help you cope with exam stress? Share with us in the comments below to benefit other students too!

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