[By Priscila Bulan Josehua]
The greatest fear of most students – at least as we get closer to midterms – is failing their exams. As the teacher announces the date, time and topics, students groan or gasp, thinking, “Did I do any revisions lately?” or “Oh, no. Not this again”.
You read all those notes you’ve written, try to memorize as many facts as you can.
On the big day, you sit down and take the test. You’ve studied for it and you look at the first three questions but everything just goes blank. And the reason is sometimes pretty simple: stress.
Thus, ETC. Magazine hereby takes the opportunity to share a few ways to de-stress before exams, so you can walk out of that hall with full confidence.
1. Make a study schedule.
This may seem to stress you out more, but a study schedule will keep you on track. Draw one up as soon as you have an idea of when your exam will be, and allocate about 45 minute-slots for study every day, with enough time for a snack, break, activity, and of course, sleep in between. This will encourage you to study at the same time every day. It will give you time to read all those small notes or mind maps you’ve made during lectures. A study schedule will avoid the need to cram all those notes 24/7, a few days before the exam.
Conclusion: less cramming, less stress.
2. Bring a little ‘cute’ into your life
The power of kawaii can do wonders to help you de-stress. Kawaii means cute in Japanese and it’s commonly used by people to express how overwhelmed they are by something cute. Watching cute videos and looking at cute photos can help you release stress. (If you’re a cat person, I recommend watching videos of Maru on YouTube, and looking up Instagram photos of Nala and Bomnal.) Watching cute videos not only helps you to release stress, but also tends to improve your work performance since you’d be in such a good mood.
3. Pet therapy
This therapy involves animals, so it might not work for those who’re not animal people, or might be allergic to them. Petting animals has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone, and decreases production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cats, in particular, create purr vibrations within a range 20-140 Hz that not only lower stress but also lower blood pressure.
4. Find some time for friends
After a rough week of revising, go reward yourself by hanging out with your friends. A study shows that during stressful times, being around friends can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Go have dinner with them or have a movie night at your place or the cinema. Have a picnic by the lakeside with them. You’d have to get back to your books eventually, but at least you’ll be in a better mood by the time you do.
Last but not least, getting enough sleep can also reduce stress. Deprivation of sleep can lead to crankiness, which might just make other students back away from you on the big day – not to mention, it’ll affect your critical thinking and cognitive processes, leading to more unnecessary and careless mistakes. According to the Sleep Disorders Health Centre, a good night’s sleep allows you to tackle the day’s stress more easily.
Remember: do not panic. The key is time-management. Studying is important, but instead of studying hard, study smart.