For students and Matric pupils, the end of year means exam time! We know that this period can be a nerve-racking and stressful experience. So we’re providing you with these 10 tips for staying relaxed, both while studying and during the exam itself.

Studying for the exam

1. Plan properly

Trying to cram all your studying in on the night before a big exam is never a good idea. The most likely outcome is that you’ll start feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work that you’re desperately trying to memorise. Under such stress and pressure, it will be difficult to retain information.

Make sure that you create a study plan well in advance, and do your best to stick to your scheduled study times. By doing so, you will feel far more prepared and relaxed the day before the test.

2. Find the study technique that suits you best

Studying properly is key to learning and memorising information. Every person has a study style which suits them best and allows them to operate at their full potential. You may be a visual person who studies best with mind maps or colour-coded notes. You may prefer to study in 30 minute sessions with short breaks in between, or for a longer period of time with longer breaks. You may be better at studying in the morning, or in the evening. Find the study technique that works best for you.

3. Take care of yourself

We might frequently mention this point in our articles, but it really is important that you eat properly and get enough sleep during exam times. Exercising can also be very helpful for keeping your mind sharp. A healthy and rested body is the key to a restful, clear mind.

4. Find help when you don’t understand something

When you’re studying, you may come across a concept or method that you don’t understand. Don’t let this overwhelm you and tempt you into simply giving up. There are ways to find help. You could approach your tutor for assistance, search for a relevant video tutorial online, or connect with fellow students to form a study group. When you are able to understand your work, you will find it much easier to memorise it.

5. Study in a peaceful environment

Your mind will often reflect the environment around you. If you study in a noisy, messy or chaotic setting, then your mind may well feel the same. Keep your study area tidy, sit on a comfortable chair, and seek to block out any distractions. You may want to play some relaxing music to keep you calm.


During the exam

1. Prioritise the best areas to start

After reading through the exam paper carefully, identify the questions that you want to tackle first. If you’re feeling really nervous, then starting with the questions you find easy can help you settle and make you more confident about tackling the more difficult questions.

2. Keep your eye on the clock

Time management is key to staying relaxed and in control during your exam. This doesn’t mean rushing through the paper, but rather making sure that you leave enough time for you to fully focus on the trickier questions, so that you can answer them to the best of your ability.

3. Think positively

It is easy to think negatively when you feel like the exam isn’t going well, but this will only cause you to become more stressed out, and possibly completely overwhelmed. Try to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, instead of thinking “I will never make it through all these questions”, think to yourself “If I take each question one-by-one, I will be able to get through them”.

4. Remind yourself to relax

When you’re feeling flustered, take a few moments to close your eyes, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths. Get yourself back into a calm state of mind.

5. What’s the worst that can happen?

At the end of the day, this exam will probably not be the defining moment of your life. If you haven’t prepared properly and you do happen to fail, then there will usually be a chance to rewrite the test. Reminding yourself of this while writing will help you to stay calm, and you may be surprised to find yourself passing after all!


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