How to Manage Stress before IGCSE Examinations

March 20, 2019

At RBIS, it is the start of the examination cycle for students sitting for IGCSE. Our students are working on revision for all their subjects and it is common at this time to have examination stress. At this stage of formal education the IGCSE may be the first formal examination undertaken and consequently exam stress will be high.

How students manage this stress will have an impact of their performance in examinations. The better you manage the stress level, chances are you will also be performing better in exams.

Here are 15 exam stress relief steps I have have gathered for your reference especially when IGCSE exams are approaching.

The following list has been prepared by Twins Education, Malaysia in collaboration with Anglia Education, UK


#1 Keep It In Perspective

Preparing for exams is stressful and remember all of your friends are facing the same situation. It all depends on how well you can manage your problem (e.g. stress) that differentiate you and your peers. Having said that, we are not suggesting you to compare yourself with your friends. But rather how you think (your mind), is all about yourself.

It is very normal for most of us to get stressed out during exam period. If it is very normal, take it easy!


#2 Smile

Try smiling. This can immediately change your mood. Our mood and body language are closely linked and it makes sense to smile on purpose to help ourselves. It is a fact that smiling relaxes our facial muscles and calms the nervous system.

These chemicals help us feel positive in turn, lowers blood pressure, relieve stress and boost mood.


#3 Listen To Music

Listening to music can create a productive and positive environment by elevating our mood. This can directly encourage us to study longer with higher effectiveness. Classical music is recommended as the it helps to boost and stimulate your brain power. However, you may consider listening to your favourite music if it helps you to study effectively. Everyone is different and what works for one student may not be successful for another.

You have to try to check what works best for you.


#4 Remember To Breathe

Close your eyes, take a deep breath slowly, pause, and exhale slowly. Repeat the process 3 to 4 times. Doing this not only can help your body to relax but also increases the oxygen flow to the brain.

The trick is, breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Whether you are doing your IGCSE revision, or exams, this method is a quick fix.


#5 Do A Quick Walk

Many students feel that they should spend their entire time with their IGCSE books before the exams.

Even the most intense exam timetables should allow a little time for a break. Research have proven that exercising such as taking a quick walk can help improve your memory and brain power. Spending a little time away (maybe 10 to 20 minutes) from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed for the next round of revision.


#6 Drink Water

Not drinking enough water can make you feel stressed and sluggish. Set a target to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. You may consider to place a medium-sized water bottle beside your study table.

What about drinking coffee?

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant and it may make you feel anxious. You can have coffee but it is advisable not to go overboard. It is recommended a maximum 100mg caffeine per day for teenagers.


#7 Prepare A Study Plan

Your stress may arise partly because you did not prepare a study plan. Exam stress relief can be achieved by investing some time to prepare thoughtfully.

These study plans can be used as a guide for your own time management and motivation. For example you may set a target to revise 2 to 3 chapters everyday instead of 10 chapters for a subject.

This may include selecting which subject to study first. Studying last minute may work but only in the short term. Creating a study plan works for everyone especially those students who demonstrate different learning styles.


#8 Speak To Someone

If the stress level gets to a point where it becomes overwhelming, try speaking to someone about it. Speak to your parents, friends or teachers as these people can be a good resource for exam stress relief. They will be happy to speak to you and possibly share their own experience. You’ll be amazed how sharing the experiences of exam stress with others can be rewarding.


#9 Treat Yourself

Reward yourself with some favourite food or get yourself a new shirt can be a good way for exam stress relief. Anything that makes you happy for a moment. Exams can be stressful, relax yourself a bit with something you enjoy and start revision again. People have the misconception that self-reward only happens after the exams. This is clearly untrue.


#10 Quit The Bad Habits

In case if you are smoking, quit smoking. This applies the same with alcohol consumption.

Cigarettes and alcohol never stopped anyone being stressed for very long. It can worsen once we are dependent on them over the long run. Exam stress relief can be automatically achieved by leaving these habits behind.


#11 Cut Down On Commitments

Decide on the importance and urgency of certain matters in your life.

This helps reduce your to-do items, giving you more time to relax and take care of yourself.

You need to prioritise your time  - It is OK to say NO.


#12 Be On Time

Get to your exam venue earlier.

Getting late for the exam will probably set your anxiety level to the roof even before you start the exams.

Do everything you can to arrive early before the exam starts. You can also avoid the risks of traffic jams and provide some stress relief for yourself.


#13 Preparing Your Stationery Items

It is recommended to prepare them probably in transparent plastic bags. For IGCSE exams, students are only allowed transparent casing or bags. Place all the necessary stationery (including your calculator) at one place. If possible, do not use them for your revision in case if you forgot to place them back.


#14 Take a Shower

Hot showers can help stress relief by soothing your stiff muscles. Allow the hot water to work like a mini-massage on your neck, shoulders and back. Studies have shown that taking a hot shower can ease anxiety.


#15 Stay Positive

Instead of focusing only on the negative, look at the positive side of things. Think about the things in school and life you are grateful for and expressing gratitude to others. This can directly or indirectly help reduce your level of stress in exams.



Final Advice

As you prepare for these important examinations make sure you communicate regularly with your subject teachers to clarify any misunderstandings and ensure your study plan is being effective. Our teachers here at RBIS understand the challenges and stresses you are facing and are here to help you.