Mock exams – bust that stress!

The stress of exams and that includes mock exams can affect you in the build up to the exams, as you hit the exam room and of course after the exam or when you get your results. The worst thing that you can do is bury your head in the sand and give in to the stress.Doing mock exams can be really stressful no matter how much revision you’ve done to prepare for them. It’s especially hard if you’ve been working really hard and love the subject and then you go into the exam room and it all goes wrong.Top stress busting tipsThe key to stress busting is recognising what the cause of the stress is, it might be worry about how and when to start revising, it might be the panic of entering the exam room or it might be the regret of having not done very well – there is always a trigger though and you need to know what this is if you’re going to deal with it.Before the examsExercise – this doesn’t have to be full-on marathon running or pumping iron - even if you go for a good walkand fill your lungs with air this can be really effective. It will actually prevent the build-up of stress.Planning – make sure that you plan what you are going to revise and when and stick this up above your desk (and stick to it). For more on how to organise your revision see our revision techniques blog.Clearly, preparing for the exams well can prevent the stress that comes from entering the exam room and from feeling that you haven’t done as well as you could have, so needless to say it’s well worth the effort.Exam timeFor some people the moment of going into the exam room is too much to bear – panic sets in and their emotions take control or their brains simply stop functioning. There are a few things that you can do to try to control this.Slow and controlled breathing – this can be done whilst you’re waiting to enter the exam room and again when you are in your seat. Very slowly and in a controlled way breathe in through your nose nice and deep and out through your mouth – don’t hold your breath in between though – this will increase your stress levels – think only about your breathing.Aromatherapy – some aromatherapy oils are known for their calming effects and you can combine these with the breathing technique above – put a few drops of chamomile or lavender oil on a tissue and breathe this in and out before the exam begins.Short term plan – this is not only a great idea – it also busies you for a few minutes. For the time that you have, plan it out – maybe you have 90 minutes so you can plan out 5 minutes plan for each question and 40 minutes for your answers – you can also write down what time you should be at each stage to keep yourself on track.If panic sets in in the hour leading up to the exam do something - eat a piece of fruit and savour it for example and think of nothing else. Try not to surround yourself with friends who tend to panic; this will only make it worse.

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