1. Rather than listening to the voice in your head that is screaming “I hate this; I don’t want to do this” think about why it is a GOOD thing to do.
2. Instead of trying to pretend that you don’t feel this way, accept that you are feeling very blah and negative.
3. Don’t think about results and how well you think you’ll do, as this could raise your feelings of anxiety and fear, just think about “right now” and the first thing you can do.
4. Accept that life is tough, and is full of things that suck – but recognise that doing hard stuff is better in the end. You’ll likely have more choices and freedom, if you do.
5. Just do a little bit for now – then give yourself a proper break – then go back and do some more – and soon you’ll find you’re in the flow.
6. Don’t allow your mind to wander and think of other things. Stay focused for that short time – and then stop, and have fun.
Students who manage best in exams:
- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends
- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat sensibly
- Have planned time for study
- Are organised
- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)
Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:
- Poor concentration
- Poor short term memory
- Recurring worrying thoughts
- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)
- Anxious about little things
- Prone to bursts of anger and tears
- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood
- Disturbed sleep
- Indigestion, poor appetite.
No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.
1. Create a daily ‘to do’ list.
2. List goals and set priorities.
3. Do ‘A’s’ first (Most important things).
4. Do them now.
5. Ask yourself “What is the best use of my time right now?”
6. Be realistic: New habits take time to develop.
7. Reward yourself for small steps of progress towards your goals each week.
Make studying a part of your everyday school routine and don’t be limited to ‘cramming’ for exams and tests.
1. Establish a routine: Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and stick to it.
2. Create a study environment
This should be away from interruptions and household noise, such as the television. Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and appropriate desk.
3. Set a timetable: With a timetable you can plan to cover all your subjects in an organised way, allotting the appropriate time for each without becoming overwhelmed.
4. Look after yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods. Keep sugary foods to a minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Regular physical exercise makes you feel great, boosts your energy and helps you relax. So try to keep up regular sporting activities or at least fit in some regular exercise as often as you can.
5. Reward yourself for studying: Watch your favourite television program, spend time with your friends, walk to the park and play sport throughout the week.
6. Have variety in your study program: Study different subjects each day and do different types of work and revision in each study session.
7. Avoid interrupting your concentration: Have all the appropriate materials with you before you start a session of study to minimise distractions.
8. Test yourself on what you have studied: Ask your parents or family members to quiz you on what you have learnt, use draft questions from books, past assessments or major exam papers.
9. Don’t panic at exam time: If you have followed a study routine and have been revising your class work, there should be no need to worry. Try to keep yourself calm, positive and confident.
10. Ask your teachers for guidance: Especially if you’re having trouble - whether it’s grasping a new concept or understanding something you learnt earlier in the year. They will be happy to help.
1. Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t stop things happening. Things will happen – or not happen –anyway.
2. Recognise that “What ifs” don’t usually help with problem solving. It’s better to use logic, and brain storm for solutions. Take control of your emotions by using rational thinking.
3. Motivate yourself by something other than worrying. Take a break and do something fun, and then go back to your work again. That positive approach will reap more benefits.
4. Face your fears – and do the things that you worry about. The thought is often much worse than the actual thing you fear.
5. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then, “What are the chances that it will happen? Then “Will you survive it, if it happens, in the end?” Usually, that helps to move us from an extreme and irrational way of thinking to a more realistic, and reasonable way if thinking.
6. Teach yourself a range of relaxation strategies – and then concentrate on them instead of on your different fears. Or, adopt a mindful approach – and keep your focus on “right now”.
1. Get into the habit of being an early riser. We can all benefit from having a little bit of extra time in the morning. It reduces stress, helps to prevent you from forgetting things, and stops that crazy morning rush.
2. Deliberately decide to tune out distractions. Turn off the TV, social media, your phone, and hide away when you need to get work done.
3. Prepare for the next day the night before. Check off your mental to-do list and prepare for the next day before you go to bed. If possible, choose your clothes, find your books, pack your bag, and so on.
4. Prioritise being organized. For example, it often helps to use an agenda to stay on track with assignments and homework.
5. Go to bed at a reasonable time. A good night’s sleep is one of the best tips for learning, remembering and doing well at school.
6. Make reading one of your hobbies. Research indicates that reading is one of the best ways for developing language skills and building a strong vocabulary.
7. Eat well. A protein breakfast and balanced meals help sustain your energy throughout the day, and is essential for building a healthy brain.
8. Get fresh air and exercise. This helps with mental alertness, concentration, an efficient memory and a positive mood.
- Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something—that is, encode it into your brain—if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory. If you’re easily distracted, pick a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Involve as many senses as possible. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes. The physical act of rewriting information can help imprint it onto your brain. Even if you’re a visual learner, read out loud what you want to remember. If you can recite it rhythmically, even better.
- Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone.
- For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. Practice explaining the ideas to someone else in your own words.
- Rehearse information you’ve already learned. Review what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals thereafter. This “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than cramming, especially for retaining what you’ve learned.
1. Make the most of those little slots of time – a free fifteen minutes here and there. You can accomplish a lot in those extra lost minutes.
2. Make your work place comfortable and inviting. For example, have an inspiring bookshelf, light a scented candle, put up a few crazy, fun photographs.
3. Make every effort to enjoy the journey – and remind yourself of the arrival fallacy (arriving at your goal is usually a letdown, and doesn’t bring the joy we thought it would bring.)
4. Don’t be afraid of criticism as it can help you to learn and grow. Dreading it too much creates anxiety which them prevents you from producing your best.
5. Recognise that we rarely feel happy when we’re working as we’re bound to struggle with incompetence, failure, frustration and feeling that we don’t know what to do. However, they are only a part of the total picture, and completing a project leads to pride and confidence.
1. Set yourself some daily goals. Keep them realistic and achievable. That will give direction – so you don’t fritter your time.
2. Read inspirational books and blogs; hang around people who are positive.
3. Stay in touch with what’s happening in the world. We’re not just islands – we are part of one another.
4. Make the effort to stay in touch. Just a “like” on facebook, or a brief text message, conveys to that person that they matter to you.
5. Invest some time in your appearance and health. We’re more confident when we look and feel our best.
6. Pay attention to your priorities. Do what’s most important, and not most urgent, first. (Note: If you never learn to prioritise then everything seems urgent – and that’s what runs your life!)
7. Smile. It makes people feel more positive towards you – and it tends to lift our mood, and enhance our feelings, too.
8. Tidy as you go. It’s easier to work, and you’ll feel a lot less stressed, if you’re working somewhere that’s devoid of clutter. Also, if you tidy as you go then it feels less overwhelming.
9. Include some margin in your life so you don’t feel so stressed, as unexpected things always eat away our time. Expect that to happen – and leave some extra time.
10. Take time for yourself as you need to relax, unwind, recover, and recharge your batteries.
1. Set realistic and achievable goals. These should be something that appeal to you as it’s hard to go after another person’s goals.
2. Think of meaningful ways to reward your progress.
3. Expect to have set-backs and encounter obstacles. When that happens, focus your mind and renew your determination. Refuse to give up.
4. Decide to remain a positive thinker. Refuse to ever stop believing in yourself. When you feel discouraged, decide that you’ll fight on.
5. Share your goals with others, and seek encouragement when you’re finding it hard to keep going on your own.
6. Practice saying no to other options and distractions that may seem appealing – but distract you from your goal.
7. Post inspirational quotes in places you can see to encourage you to work to achieve your goal.
8. Practice self care so you don’t burn out. You need to pace yourself if you are going to reach your goal.
1. You accomplish more. No, you don’t get more done (you’re doing less, after all), but if you do less and focus on the important stuff, you actually achieve better results, and more meaningful accomplishments.
2. You have less anxiety. When you let go of the distractions and the non-essential, you free yourself from the fear that you need to do these things. You learn that your world doesn’t fall apart when you let them go.
3. You enjoy life more. Taking time to really focus on an important task, or enjoy the little things, rather than rushing through them, is much more enjoyable.
4. You create time. When you do less, all of a sudden you have free time! You can use that doing things you really want to do!
Source: http://zenhabits.net/less/ (Abridged)
1. Don’t mope around and keep beating yourself up. That will only distract you from your studying, and stop you from doing your best in other subjects.
2. Remember a bad grade is only a bad grade. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless or have failed as a person.
3. Try and find a way to let your feelings out through some kind of physical activity. For example, through running, jogging, or going to the gym.
4. Aim to do better on the next test you have. There will still be other tests where you can get a higher mark. Maybe see it as a wake-up call, and change your study habits.
5. Try and figure out why you received the bad grade. Do you need to study more, or to learn some new techniques? Did you not fully understand the course material? Did you just have a bad day, or were you tired or feeling sick?
6. Get extra help from your teachers if you need it. Most of them are happy to answer students’ questions.
7. Be determined to keep going and to persevere. It’s easier to do well with a good attitude.
1. Prepare well in advance: Lack of preparation is the most commonly cited reason for exam anxiety. To deal with this, devise a study schedule that gets you working long before your exams start. That allows some time for any setbacks, roadblocks or unexpected obstacles. It also helps to combat the need to cram – which is known to add more stress during exams.
2. Develop good sleeping habits: This is one of the best ways to stay on top of stress. Develop a routine where you get sufficient sleep. This will help your brain to function at its optimum.
3. Keep caffeine and sugar at similar levels during pre-exam and exam times: Our bodies get used to certain chemical levels. If you suddenly decrease this, you may suffer withdrawal. In contrast, if you suddenly increase it, you might find it hard to focus.
4. Practise breathing techniques: These will help you to calm yourself if you start to feel anxious when you’re taking an exam. You’ll be able to apply them as soon as you feel stressed.
5. If possible, don’t study the night before: Or at least, only do the minimum amount, or briefly review the main concepts and themes. Then try to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
6. Expect to do your best: Your thoughts affect your feelings – and how anxious you are. If you keep repeating that you think you’re going to fail, it will undermine your confidence and faith in yourself. Also, it will make it hard to study and remember what you’re doing, as your thinking is consumed by “how bad it’s going to be”. In contrast, it you stay positive and believe in yourself, your mind will be free to focus on your work, and you’re likely to do better as you think you will succeed!