Tuesday, 5 December 2017

EXAM 101 - After the Exam

There’s a whole lot of energy spent on exams – so much so that a lot of us experience an energy slump for a t least a month afterwards. Plus, if you’re anything like me you’re also repressing fearful thoughts of what those upcoming grades are going to be like. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work the idea it may not pay off just won’t leave you alone. So here’s five things you can do to help push past that time until after the grade release (When you can really relax).
1.      Sleep and watch movies
Obviously this activity has to feature on the list. There’s no better way to take your mind off something than laying, curled up in bed mindlessly whiling away hours watching youtube videos. I certainly have lost two or three Saturdays in the exam break just sitting in bed all day and enjoying the hallmark channel.
This can help you feel well rested – and really happy. After all that studying before the exam it’s a definite that you missed out on some awesome blockbusters (all the good things seem to come out while you’re busy!). Plus you can scroll through Netflix to find your next tv series binge  - and get halfway through it before you have to go out and be productive again.
2.      Exercise and eat healthy
I know this is probably the most boring thing on the list – but please don’t let after the exam break be your excuse to cram yourself full of sugar. It only takes a simple google search to see all the medical evidence that shows you that unhealthy eating is linked to an unhealthy and unhappy mind. There are strong links between salt, sugar and depression, so unless you really want to fight the emotional slump this holidays keep your unhealthy eating in check and instead indulge in some of these delicious, healthy treats.
3.      Plan social and work activities
Keep yourself busy and out of the bed (for a little while anyway) with a few well planned events. Catch up with friends and attend some semi-educational events to keep your brain activity and maybe get a little head start on next semester’s work.
Go out with your friends and talk about something other than school for a while. After spending six weeks doing nothing but fast tracking your way through a ton of work you may be surprised how hard it is to discuss something other than your economics minor. But it’s definitely healthy. If all you can talk about is your work load – you’re going to end up with fewer brunch dates!
But, if you’re really struggling to pick up some conversation starters and you’re getting sick of those delicious café brunches perhaps you should try your hand at some resume building. Use an app like meetups to find a local volunteer group. You’d be surprised how many opportunities are thrown about without a single campaign on facebook. These apps give you exclusive access to the most exciting volunteering opportunities.
But, if you’re a little strapped for cash try doing some freelance work on Fiverr. It’s a popular way to earn a little bit of cash to support your holiday adventures. You can work in editing, writing, social media, blogging etc and then add your experience to your resume – super simple! Alternatively, for five dollars you can have anything done, from a hand drawn cartoon to a custom designed website – it’s super easy.  
4.      Plan for your future academic endeavors
There’s something special about looking forward to the next academic year. It’s hat we used to do in primary school when the idea of learning was just as thrilling as dozens of unscheduled days are to us now. Plan out what stationary you’re going to get, the color schemes of your next study guides and look through some key topics for your next semester.
Plus, don’t be afraid to skim through the job offers of the firms/companies you’d like to work for when you graduate. A lot of big companies have blogs which write excerpts on what their new employees and interns are up to – this can help you gain some insight into what the company looks for in a future employee.
5.      Practice some hobbies
Of course you should never neglect your extra curriculars! Take some time to invest yourself in your current hobbies. Psychology suggests that the best day schedule requires time reserved for creativity and relaxation. This is because, as much as we may wish it was, your brain is not a machine. It requires alternative outlets to be functional and operate at maximum capacity. Use these summer hours to give yourself the rest and relaxation that is needed.
If you’re looking for new hobbies to join in don’t be afraid to try out local classes, events or watch some youtube tutorials to find out which hobbies you might like to delve further in to. Hobbies can also be great opportunities for networking and finding new friends.
Popular activities like team sports and social groups can be great ways to connect with new colleagues or to erode away some tension in an awkward job interview. Use these experiences to your advantage and you won’t regret your summer hours.

Enjoy!

Lulu. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Social media and the havoc it can wreck on your professional life


Many people underestimate the power of the social media. When it was first design the recruiters who were hiring you probably hadn’t even heard of facebook. But the online community has climbed the priority scale in the last ten years. Now you can forget about recruiters not considering your social media. It’s the most unique snapshot of your life – and it can either set you up for success or failure.

 You’d think that your own private facebook account or twitter would only bother you and your friends. But many times of the years employees have lost jobs for inappropriate comments or behavior online. It is often the first port of call for any employer, especially before they hire someone that they haven’t considered. It used to be that only the references – those three mobile numbers you stick at the end of your resume – would represent you and your personality. However, modern employers have a far better opportunity to gain insight into the next person that they are bringing into their company.

According to the recruitment agency ‘Jobvite’ 93% of companies who hired in 2014 used some kind of social media to assess their hiring decisions. If there was 93% in 2014 – it’s hard to imagine why that number would have increased. To take it further, 61% of the reactions to the profiles were negative, and meant that many of those job seekers were turned away.

There are several characteristics that you should be wary of when posting on your online accounts
1.      References to drugs, profanity or sexual posts
According to the survey around 70% of recruiters reflect negatively on these types of posts.
2.      Alcohol or guns
44% of recruiters find these topics to be concerning. While some may find that this is cumbersome to remove all references to these topics – try instead for a measured response. Most adults drink, the reference wasn’t so much to moderate drinking, but extensive references to it.

3.      Your attitude

Much like being in public you want to present your best self. We can all be a little irritable and grumpy when we’ve had a bad day but try not to react online. It’s best to grumble to yourself most of the time. One Yale dean lost her job after leaving rude yelp reviews online.  Jane Chu posted a review of a restaurant in America where she called the owners ‘white trash.’ Obviously this behavior is offensive and wouldn’t be acceptable in normal conversation – so it’s best to apply the same rules in online behavior.

If you wouldn’t say it to your mother, best not to post it.
4.      Watch your spelling and grammar

66% of those surveyed said that they would definitely be turned off a future employee if they saw posts with bad spelling and grammar. If you’re like me and you’re applying for a literacy centric position – it’s especially important that you’re displaying these skills publicly. Many job applicants don’t get to submit a job portfolio, so in many ways your facebook, twitter and linkedin tell your employer what you would be like to work with.

But don’t back away from your social media just yet, according to a study initiated by Careerbuilder, 29% of recruiters found something that drove them to offer the job to a candidate. From the high level of online recruiters, it’s clear that making sure you put a good foot forward can boost your chances. Forbes magazine explains that candidates have a second opportunity to explain that they’re a wellrounded person with the right qualities and personality to fit the company. 

To boost your chances of showing your advantages as an employee work towards creating meaningful connections online and sharing content that positively promotes your work value.

Good ways to do this include;

Connecting with online interest groups like ‘Women in Business,’ ‘Climate Change Action’ or ‘Young Lawyers for Change’. These groups all display that you are a proactive person with a strong interest in a relevant area of the field your aiming to work with.

Additionally, posting some of your work online (Where there are no copyright or privacy issues) can allow employers to have a better understanding of your skills and abilities. Often a candidate can come across stronger this way then they did in the interview when everything was rushed.

But it’s not just job seekers that have to mind their manners online – current hires are 41% more likely to be investigated than candidates. While this information isn’t necessarily used against the candidate, 26% of employers said that they had found information that forced them to either reprimand or fire an employee.

Terry Frei, who was a columnist for several years tweeted out that he was ‘very uncomfortable’ with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500. The ultimate consequence was that he lost his position in the Denver Post and the company sent out a post publicly condemning his statement and apologizing for his actions.


To manage your social media the best plan of action is to assess what qualities your employer is likely to be looking for. From there do your best to make sure that you show those qualities that you genuinely possess and are interested in. Never try to force a fake interest in something, you can end up in some really tight spots if you do! Don’t be afraid to actively participate in the online community, but like I said before – the online world is no different to the real world. 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Exam 101 Preparing for the exam

Exam 101 Preparing for the exam
Exams really aren’t that hard – once you’ve got a fairly good idea for how to anticipate the exam question you can essentially hone your preparations to ensure that you’re set for studying (to learn how to anticipate the exam question refer to the archive blogs for August 2017).
There are several routes that this can take. I personally recommend that you begin studying 6 weeks out from the exam. I will label what to do for each week and you can step in wherever you fit in. (For example, if you only have four weeks left begin from week four not week six.)
You will reap the most benefit if you do the program from start to finish, but it is the final weeks of consolidated learning that you must focus on if you have limited time.
Week Six
Daily Activities
·        Check for the examinable areas of the course
·        Summarize the biggest topics into four pages each
·        Summarize critical topic components into cue cards
·        Scan forward for the next six weeks and devise a study plan to get through the material a little faster. Use study notes from old students (Available online) or watch old lectures (often found on youtube or itunesU) to gain a better understanding. – Aim to finish three weeks before the end of term.
Weekly Activity
·        Arrange for a consultation with tutor/lecturer/teacher to ask questions about areas you’re unsure about
Tip
·        Find some quotes you like from key readings and put them into your summaries
Week Five
Goals
Ø  Begin final review of learning material; begin with weeks 1-4
Ø  Attempt two exam questions (long) and three exam questions (short)
Daily
·        Continue summary of biggest topics into four pages each
·        Continue summarizing critical components onto cue cards
·        40 minutes per day on study plan to finish course
Weekly Activity
Assemble your old assessment items in a logical order and write out the critical comments from each of them. Apply them to a simple checklist for use next week.
Tip
·        Don’t highlight anything yet. Save that for your final review.
Week Four
Goals
Ø  Begin final review of learning material; begin with weeks 3-6
Ø  Attempt two exam questions (long) and three exam questions (short)
Ø  Have your cue card summaries finished
Daily
·        60 minutes per day on study plan to finish course
·        Begin summarizing the small/less important topics into two pages each

Weekly Activity
Use the critical feedback list you compiled last week to check your results on your exam questions. Where you haven’t applied the feedback properly rewrite the question in a different colored pen and properly apply the feedback. Take the rewritten answer to your instructor and ask for their opinion on the piece. Take your feedback with you so that you can show them how you interpreted the feedback.
Tip
You should show them your interpretation because sometimes you might receive a comment like ‘be more precise’ so your response is to use less words – but the instructor intended for you to use more technical language, not fewer words.

Week Three
Goals
Ø  Begin final review of learning material; begin with weeks 5-8
Ø  Attempt two exam questions (long) and three exam questions (short)
Ø  Finish summarizing smaller topics into two pages and combine all topics into one study guide
Daily
·        60 minutes per day on study plan to finish course [YOU SHOULD FINISH THIS WEEK – IF NOT, either increase the amount to finish this week or move on.]
·        Review notes 20 minutes per day
Weekly
Spend time with at least one other student in your course and go through one full exam with them. If you don’t have much time don’t write out full answers, just answer the question in dot points and discuss what you think is most important.
Tip
Respect what the other students says, while you can’t rely on others for 100% accuracy a different perspective will focus on other critical components of the course and will help to keep your mind on track for where it should be.  Don’t be put off if they haven’t studied as much as you already, some people work well with less preparation – but you’re always better off to have prepared more than less.
Week Two
Goals
Ø  Begin final review of learning material; begin with weeks 7-11
Ø  Attempt two exam questions (long) and three exam questions (short)
Ø  Finish summarizing smaller topics into two pages and combine all topics into one study guide
Daily
·        Review notes 30 minutes per day
·        Extra focus on finishing your final review. Don’t write in full sentences now if you’re running short on time. Instead just summarize in dot points and draw diagrams. It’s about learning the information, not making it look good
Weekly
Do a timed practice exam, practicing calming techniques and using any of the notes you’ll be allowed. If you’re not allowed notes in your exam – then it won’t be to your advantage to use them.
Tip
Check your exam afterwards and give it a grade estimate by looking over the feedback and analysis you’ve already being given and see how it matches up.
Week One
Goals
Ø  Finish final review of learning material
Ø  Attempt three exam questions (long) and four exam questions (short)
Daily
·        Review notes 30 minutes per day
·        Extra focus on finishing your final review. Don’t write in full sentences now if you’re running short on time. Instead just summarize in dot points and draw diagrams. It’s about learning the information, not making it look good
Weekly
Do three timed practice exams, practicing calming techniques and using any of the notes you’ll be allowed. If you’re not allowed notes in your exam – then it won’t be to your advantage to use them.
Tip
Use this week to give yourself some rest and eat healthy foods. You’ve worked hard for the last six weeks – you can afford to take a little bit of extra time to relax than the other students – plus this will help you to reduce your anxiety before the exam.

Best of luck preparing for your exam – I know you can do it!







Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Archiving and maintaining your notes

Archiving your notes, and how to properly preserve them

Keeping control of your notes is vital to ensuring a positive trajectory for your academic path. No one can get through the university process or high school without maintaining some kind of previous knowledge from the previous levels.

This is especially important as you move into adult learning as it doesn’t require sequential learning. As the ultimate consequence if you don’t keep on top of your previous studies you’ll be the one that suffers. Here are three quick tips to keep building a pyramid of knowledge and not a maze of information.

1.      Establish a proper administration system in your home office

It sounds a little fancy but don’t be put off this is totally easy to begin. You probably already have a system like this – it might just be very inefficient and maybe making your life harder than it needs to be.

a)      Drop and run box
This aptly name space in your room exists. Usual places for it to be are the bed or your kitchen bench. It’s the point where you drop things after a long day at home and head straight to bed. Think about where you dump things as soon as you get home.

This is where you need to put a little box which can hold all the papers. They say the less visible mess you have the better off you will be and this is true for anyone who is managing a stressful academic and work schedule.

Try to keep this drop box A4 sized and no more than four inches deep. Too big and you’ll never sort through the box. The key idea is that you will have to empty it a maximum of every three days.

I like to go through mine in the morning or at lunch time when I’m having a bit of a relax. It’s a matter of putting your note books back in place or moving work or bits of paper that you need to do something with to somewhere that you’ll remember.

b)     Squish files

I call them squish files mostly because I just shove the papers in here and then sprint off to class. This system is great because that’s all you have to do. The different squish files that I have are;

i.                 Course 1
ii.                Course 2
iii.               Course 3
iv.               Course 4
v.                Language learning
vi.               Work
vii.             YouTube
viii.            Tumblr/Instagram
ix.               Blog
x.                Medical
xi.               Family

I keep them stored in my bookshelf. I can do this because I bought zip files from Daiso which are super simple to use and you can zip them up so that nothing falls out. I prefer to use this over manila folder as you can store them in a bookshelf just like books. This space saving method are perfect for people who prefer the minimalist look or are living in a small apartment.

Alternatively, you can get some neat manila lined folders from Kikki K which are perfect for anyone who wants to use a more traditional system.

c)      Sorting time
To make sure that nothing gets forgotten I check my folders twice a week to see what needs to be done. I check them on the Monday and the Friday and then use my kikki k planner to pencil in when I’ll organize those activities.

I use Staedtler pens to make sure that I can identify quickly and easily which category each task is in. E.g., pink for medical, green for family and blue for academics. I try to group the categories together during the day so that I can sweep out one big block of tasks to get done and avoid having to travel all over the city to get stuff done.

For people who struggle to make themselves focus grouping together similar activities can be very useful for maintain focus because it will allow you to block out thoughts about the other areas of your busy life and instead focus on straightening out this mess. While your planner will make sure that nothing gets badly neglected.

d)     Command center
Unlike a planner a command center only manages a very short space of time. Your planner will ensure that over the course of the year, month and week every area of your life is attended to. However, your command center helps to create a more flexible lifestyle and can help to manage the spontaneous events and issues that will inevitably crop up. I explain how to make and use a command center here.

While it’s not compulsory I would highly recommend one as it allows you to write down and keep track of your daily activities and if anyone wants to invite you out for a quick drink or you have an appointment to attend you won’t get swept up trying to complete the other tasks of the day.

e)     Rubbish bin

Do not forget this. As simple as it is – many of us forget that if there’s nothing to be done with a piece of paper you need to bin it. A cluttered desk is useless and will only serve to make you more stressed. Do your best to make sure that you dump any papers or items that don’t help you to succeed in your day.

f)       Archive box
There are some documents that you don’t use daily but you can’t throw away. Some examples of this might be academic transcripts, passports or scripts. These are all vital documents and you’ll want to maintain an out of the way box or drawer that will allow you to keep these documents without creating more clutter to deal with.

g)      Back pack
Find somewhere useful and obvious to keep your backpack. It is best practice to maintain a backpack that you take with you when you do tasks. It’s not the same as your study bag – and while it’s probably a little cumbersome to have multiple bags if you dedicate one bag to carrying the things you need to complete your tasks you will never forget anything again.

If you don’t often have to drop books back to the library or return bulky items you may be able to limit this ‘back pack’ to a single envelope folder which can fit into your backpack or handbag when you head to work.

2.      Summarize the end of year information into a maximum of three pages
Because most of us to big and long complicated courses it is impractical to keep all the notes that you create. Some effective ways to use these notes are to load them on to online student notes websites. Some of them provide return credits that will allow you to purchase study notes to guide you through the upcoming courses.

However, you should maintain a quick and easy guide that you can flip through to ensure that you retain the essential foundational knowledge. These study guides should include the following;

a)      Mind map
This should cover a basic outline of the entire course.
b)     Dot points
Any topics that were important should have 6-8 dot points explaining the course (especially those topics that were covered in the exam!)
c)      One practice exam answer/feedback assignment
If you got some valuable feedback from a convener or you were given a template that explained how an exam answer should be answered keep this too. That way you can refer to it later if you are struggling in a course.

3.      Begin the coming course as quickly as possible

Of course, if you start this process in the middle of the semester it’s going to be rather difficult to collate your knowledge. However, next semester, begin early and make sure that you remember that you’ll be archiving your notes as you go through. Some helpful hints to get you started in the semester include;

a)      Read course guide
b)     Read reviews online
c)      Find an online textbook
d)     Look over some online notes

As you go through the semester try to make up your mind map and end each topic with 10-12 dot points explaining what you spoke about.


To get the best of feedback make sure that you drop in to visit your convener throughout the term and ask questions or just for clarification on weekly homework. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

EXAM 101 – What to do during your exam


There’s often a lot of discussion surrounding how to control anxiety and stress. Personally I find that the best way to control my emotions and focus my thoughts during an exam is to set up an ‘exam routine’. These routines are small actions that you complete in a certain order throughout the exam to create a sense of surety and certainty throughout the exam.
Current studies (6 April 2017) reveal that 35% of university students experience self harm or suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months. Headspace representative, Jason Trethowan revealed that the rates are only increasing – and one in three students will experience thoughts of suicide in the space of a year. If you struggle with significant exam anxiety – or generalized anxiety creating an exam routine can help to get through some of the peak anxiety moments of the year.
Even more significant is the 65% of students are reporting high to very high levels of psychological stress- with more than half suffering from panic attacks. While you’re not alone, don’t allow yourself to fall victim to these fears. Instead try instituting some practices that will help you to continue to move forward, even when you’re frightened.
Below is the routine that I generally follow through the exam process from beginning to finish. My program isn’t a fail-safe method to pass your exams. It works best when you’ve prepared well before hand and you’re now trying to make sure that you can remain focused.
NIGHT BEFORE
Before bed
Ø  Prep exam bag
Ø  Ensure have water, snacks, textbooks, reference notes
Ø  Check alarms are set
Ø  Check exam venue and travel route
BEFORE LEAVING HOME
Ø  Check Exam Venue
Ø  Last check of bag
Ø  Take phone
Ø  Decent lunch/breakfast
ARRIVAL
15 Minutes Prior
Ø  Hot drink/ Cool drink
Ø  Flip through flash cards
Ø  Read some news
ENTERING ROOM
Ø  Take out pens
Ø  Place drink on floor
Ø  Deep breaths
Ø  Look for a lecturer/someone you know
DURING PREP TIME
Ø  Write out anything I’m worried I’ll forget
Ø  Read the questions three times over
Ø  Plan out the long question
Ø  Answer the multiple choice questions
Ø  Have a little nap if time is left 😊
DURING EXAM
Ø  Answer questions you are most confident about
Ø  Answer questions with highest marks
Ø  Answer the rest of the questions
MID WAY
Ø  Have a snack
Ø  Rest your eyes for five minutes

And then you can leave your exam and continue your day! The creation of a routine may seem crazy – as if you have that much time in the first place right? Well the routine helps you to ‘slow’ time by creating a sense of calm. This calm allows you to remember that there is enough time to take a short break and focus your mind.
The key thing to remember about exams is that 800 words of well structured, legible and poignant writing is far more effective than 1500 words of a rambling point about something akin to what you were asked.
This method is a simple way to spot reduce anxiety. Try not to rely entirely on this method and instead try using some other techniques. I would recommend simulating an exam situation several times throughout the term to make sure that you have some good methods that will help you be effective. To simulate the anxiety that can be felt during an exam go somewhere loud and distracting like a café, noisy public place or other area that you find distracting. That distraction can be equated to the distraction that anxiety creates.
Some good methods to try using throughout an exam are;
-        Repeating positive mantras such as ‘I can do this, I will do this – I’ve worked hard, I can do this’. These positive affirmations are simple, unobtrusive ways to develop your self confidence and continue through with the exam.
-        Subtle and quiet fidgeting, spinning a pen, playing with the edge of the paper or twirling an eraser can make a good way to calm your mind without distracting anyone around you.
-        Visualizing what you’ll do after the exam – while you should be careful after this to ensure that you won’t end up day dreaming your time away, envisioning the resulting reward after your exam can be a good way to spur on your confidence and finish that exam.
-        Set yourself a minimum. As crazy as this maysound, there are times when your panic is so overwhelming that even picking up the pen is a success. When this challenge arises set yourself a minimum standard. For example, you must write two paragraphs and then you can finish – or four lines! It can be just enough to pass the question. This may sound bad, but often this can be a major relief for yourself and can help break down those perfectionist barriers – leaving you feeling free to perform the best that you can on the exam.
Best of  luck with your exams!

Lulu Hensman

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

EXAM 101 – Panicking before exams


There’s no way to prevent panic before exams. We all suffer from anxiety and it’s commonly known that certain levels of anxiety create the perfect exam conditions. This is known as your ‘peak arousal.’ However, there are times in which too much anxiety can be devastating to your performance and mental health.
There are two times when anxiety can impact you. The first is the most commonly, which is immediately before the exam. This is generally a useless type of anxiety that only serves to make you uncomfortable and cause your grades to suffer. I have three ways to combat this type of stress.


1.      Chewing and drinking
There is a clear link between eating and the temporary reduction of anxiety. Using comfort foods can be an effective way to reduce anxiety prior to an exam. While your go to comfort foods may be a packet of hot chips or a chocolate milk shake, it is easy to stuff some dark chocolate and sultanas into a clear zip lock bag. I recommend putting in a mix of high sugar, sweetened foods along with maybe some salt pretzels because they are foods that are high energy and dopamine encouraging. Lesser amounts shouldn’t cause a sugar rush later and can make you feel good, reducing anxiety.
Similarly, don’t forget to pack your water bottle. There is a link between dehydration and the onset of panic attacks – while this is not the trigger for every anxiety attack there is evidence to suggest it is a factor. So, pack in a clear water bottle and slurp away!
2.      Music and lectures
If you’re a music fan you’re probably familiar with the psychological impact of music. Music is a way to impose structure and order in an environment where none may immediately appear. It can manipulate your emotions and draw you to a new mental state. Creating a playlist that makes you feel powerful, focused or calm (depending on what you feel works for you best) can help you to control your mental state at the time. A good place to get some playlist inspiration is through 8tracks.
However, if you’re like me and music doesn’t really help you focus you may find that listening to lecturers from tedtalks or other speech platforms helps you to calm down. I find that listening to other people talk either giving motivational speeches, or talking on a topic that I am interested in distracts me before the exam and gives me the opportunity to rest my mind before I launch into an exam. As a teacher once told me, there’s nothing you can do in the last five minutes that will destroy your exam. Any information you forget isn’t useful. Allow your mind to breath and process information without the added anxiety.
3.      Talking to others/social media
Talking to people around you before an exam can form a strange kind of kinship. It’s the kind where you’re all reasonably frightened of what might happen, but the shared experience makes you feel more positive. This kind of event can be good to make you feel like you’re working towards something that is bigger and better than just this one little exam. Although some people find it makes them more worried if you’re a bit extroverted this may just be the tip that helps you reach that little bit of calm you need before an exam.
If you’re worried that you might psyche yourself out another good thing to do is to scroll through social media. Pick a tag that you like (my personal favorites are cake decorating and summer clothes) and scroll through the pictures. They’re upbeat, well-lit and pretty – just the kind of thing you need to look at to get yourself in a better mental state.

While you’re doing these tasks relax yourself slowly. There are smaller physical things you can do to control the psychological tricks of anxiety.
a)      Pace and move your body
Movement is a great distraction technique and when it comes to beating anxiety distraction is exactly what you’re looking for. Walk around the room or building. If you need more of a distraction try looking for things in the room; for example, while you’re walking around you must name;
-        5 things that are making a noise
-        2 different things that you can smell
-        1 thing you’re going to do after the exam
-        3 people that you know (either in the room or out)
-        1 person wearing blue
-        1 person listening to music
Etc. this is part of a process called ‘grounding’. You can read the hand out to find more of these techniques. This is a very good tactic to use because it encourages you to interact with your environment and can adapt to whatever environment you’re in.
b)     Tell yourself that you can do it.
Visualization is a critical component to any de-stress routine, whether it’s days before the exam or in the moments just before it. Try repeating in your head ‘I can do this, I’m going to do well.’ This simple action can reduce your anxiety and bring you to the right mental state.
If, however, you’re suffering the stress a few weeks before the exam begins, there are some other methods you can add to your plans to help conquer these fears. They are a little more proactive because you have more time.
1.      Set up a plan so you can visualize how much time you have and what you’re going to do with it
Some people may consider this to be like setting up a timer until the end of the world. However, if you’re a fan of routines and planning this can be a wonderful way to remind yourself you have plenty of time to act. My biggest weakness is that I always panic and underestimate the amount of time I have left. Just last semester I finished my exam review four weeks early because I messed up the timing and panicked that I was going to run out of time. The result was that I burned out way faster than normal and way exhausted by the end of the exam season – so learn from me and use a planner!
2.      Assess the amount that you have on and see if you can trim anything from this
Sometimes we add a lot of ‘little things’ into our schedule that add up. Try to write a list of all your extracurricular and see if there are some things you can drop to give yourself some more time to split between relaxation and studying. It is critical in the final weeks of your study to maintain a healthy balance between your personal life and your study life.
3.      Speak with an academic advisor
Exam planning pack
Sometimes early onset test anxiety can be an indicator that there is something wrong. Try speaking with an academic advisor to get their opinion on whether you need some extra helping the class or if there is a way you can offload some of the academic burden. I know there are a lot of advisors who are experts at helping students create flexible study plans that leaves a student working productively and not overloading themselves. While it may be a little frightening to admit to someone that you’re struggling with your academic commitments, remember that it is the peak of maturity to know your limits and to get help to move past them.


Overall your anxiety over exams is purely a mental block. Prepare to deal with it, but don’t let it prevent you from showing off all your hard work over the semester. Use your time well to prevent over reacting and do your best on the exam!