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Managing your exam stress 2014

Campus Wellbeing and Support Services

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Transcript of Managing your exam stress 2014

Managing your exam stress
Campus Wellbeing and Support Services

PREPARE
Gather information about the exam. Consider ...

* Course outline
* Lecture notes
* Prescribed readings
* Tutorial outlines and notes
* Format of the exam - essays, short answers, multiple choice ??

BE REALISTIC! You can't learn EVERYTHING. Focus on what's IMPORTANT
GET MOTIVATED !
* DOING leads to motivation - NOT the reverse!

* Keep a record of goals, strike them off when they're done (acknowledge accomplishment!)

* REWARD yourself

* REST frequently - to prevent burnout

* MIX your topics - easy vs difficult, interesting vs boring or dull

* THINK about your long term goals, "What am I studying for?" Picture the job, career and accomplishment at the end of the degree.

YOUR STUDY ENVIRONMENT
WHERE do you work best? Bedroom, library

KEEP space organised and uncluttered

REMOVE or REDUCE distractions - TV, internet, Facebook, phone, games

SEPARATE study space from place for relaxation

KEEP work space for WORK and nothing else!
ORGANISE YOUR TIME
Use a WEEKLY TIMETABLE
- make it suit your study habits (e.g. mornings vs evenings)
- schedule BREAKS - relaxation, socialising and exercise
- schedule revision time (be subject-specific)
- allow for flexibility and the unexpected ...
- be REALISTIC about what you can achieve - stick to your deadlines
- consider your attention span
- tackle TOUGH tasks when energised, SIMPLE tasks when tired
PRIORITISE
- what's compulsory?
- what carries the most weight?
- what are your WEAK areas?


Self-Care and Sleep
Switch off or unwind / warm shower before bed. Milk can help you settle down.
Maintain routine as best you can.
Don’t study in bed.
Don’t ruminate about sleep loss.
Reduce caffeine and sugar, especially at night.
Eat regularly
DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST!
Exercise is very very important.

Before the Exam
Do gather all materials the night before. Double-check exam time, day and venue.
Do arrive early, but not too early. Keep your distance from others who are stressing out.
Do know that feeling nervous/anxious is natural. It helps us to function.
Don’t put yourself under pressure. Try to maintain normal eating and sleeping patterns.
Don’t try to cram! At most, review some key points.

Deep Breathing and Relaxation
Train yourself in advance.
Stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and breathe out for 6 seconds. (use words like ‘relax’ & ‘calm’ on the out breath. Breathe through the nose if possible.)
Keys to deep breathing: 1. Slow.
2. Controlled.
3. Into your stomach (diaphragm).

Relaxation - ie progressive muscle relaxation
In the exam room
Use the reading time.
Decide which questions you will answer.
Allocate time and move on even if incomplete. Come back to it at the end.
Construct a plan, however, be wary that most marks are for content not structure in exams.
Use point form if running out of time.
Take breaks.

Self-Talk
Constructive self-talk is more helpful.
Be aware of irrational, exaggerated comments:

“It’s too hard”, “I can't study”, “I’m going to mess it up”,
“I’m a failure”, “I’ll get kicked out of uni”.
Instead, give yourself calm, rational assurances:
“I can concentrate on my studies", "I’ve done plenty of tests before”,
“I can do this exam to the best of my ability”,
“It’s just anxiety, it will pass”, “Anticipation is worse than the event”, “Honestly, who dies if I fail?”

Responding to stress during the exam
Grounding exercise:
“I can see, hear, feel…”
Breathing exercises.
Take a position of non-resistance.
Notice the anxiety, don’t judge it.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE?
Start preparing as early as you can.
Prioritise.
Have a plan.
Recognise your limits.
Acknowledge that stress and anxiety are part of the process.

QUESTIONS?
counselling@mq.edu.au
(02) 9850 7497
GOOD LUCK
Goal Setting
Full transcript