2016 Aug 16
The London exams just finished… but the local exams just began. Exams; putting us in a whole ton of trouble since forever. Doing an exam, whether big or your monthly subject quizzes, is tough enough, but the stress and anxiety you go through the months or weeks leading up to results day is unbeatable.
All of who sat for exams over the spring session definitely know what I’m talking about. You make the decision weeks before to get there about 10 minutes early, and vow to stay calm and composed. Yet, on the morning, you find yourself digging a pit on your backyard just in case results don’t go the way you expected them to be (okay, maybe not digging a pit, but I know this thought has crossed you mind a few times. You’re probably actually considering doing it too!). One reason why we freak about results is typically because we wished we did better and it wasn’t an entire year of work squeezed into our system the night before the exam. But it is also because of expectations. You have set your standards and so have everyone around you. As human beings with the capacity to empathize and react to others, one of our major priorities is to not let our loved ones down.
We may have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you get through the next few days leading up to results day.
- Do not bottle your feelings up
If you’re nervous or anxious, talk about it. One thing we all go through when it’s almost results day is anxiety, and anxiety is not something you want to bottle up. Talk to your mom or best friend and chances are that your parents might tell you that you shouldn’t have been on your phone and concentrated on your books instead, but it is usually always followed with words of encouragement. Speaking to a friend usually goes along the lines of “I know, we are so screwed.”, “I’m sure I did worse”, “My mother is legit going to kill me” etc. Exams are stressful. Bottling up stress can make it worse, so it’s really important not to keep it all inside.Sometimes when you’re anxious you can feel shaky, light-headed and nauseous. Some people have panic attacks and this is really common; one in 10 people will have at least one at some point in their lives. The main thing to remember is that it’s just anxiety – it can’t harm you, and it will pass.
- Stop thinking about it over and over again
This is also called ruminating. Ruminating” is that “broken-record” loop where you find yourself thinking about the same thing over and over, generally without having anything to add to the thought. It’s common to ruminate about things like exams, but you need to remember that worrying about them after the fact will not have any effect other than causing you stress.
You’ve got to stop worrying about it. Maybe go for a movie with your friends or focus on your work or tell your aunt you’ll look after her kids the next few days. Do something! Sitting on your bed/couch/floor pining over the anticipation of your results will do no good!
- Remind yourself that you a strong, young, independent man/woman
The human brain has a strong negative bias, meaning we generally focus more on the negative things and allow the positive things to slip past us. Identifying and reminding yourself of your strengths will help you combat this bias to make sure you’re giving yourself a fair shot.
Honestly, I don’t think an exam can determine how successful we are as people. Come to think of it, the barriers you have to overcome if you get crappy results are very short term. I have friends who ended up getting relatively lower grades than I did, but ended up doing their degree in better universities. Sometimes, money does the trick. I’m not saying you can use this as an excuse to get crappy results, all I’m saying is that most of the time, there’s always a plan B.
- Don’t go over the exam.
There isn’t any point, what’s done is done. And, in any case, the memory plays tricks, it almost certainly isn’t as bad as they fear.
It’s just a paper/ exam, remind yourself constantly that your life in no way depends on it. The big benefit of not reminding yourself what the paper was and what you wrote and what not, is it lowers stress, a pretty useful thing when it comes to results day.
If you are struggling why not do something as simple as smiling? Now for a bit of science – when you smile, a chemical called endorphin is released, the stress hormone Cortisol is reduced. So the more you smile the less stress stressed you become! (I don’t think we can apply that to the last few days leading up to results, but you can certainly try!)
- Make a plan
Be organized – know what time you’ve got to go and pick up your results and where you need to go. If you have to check it online, the night before, have all your documents ready. Maybe bookmark the site so it can be easily accessed. Think about what you might need to do if you don’t get the grades you were hoping for so you’re not panicking on the day.For example, if your university place or job offer is dependent on you getting certain results, have their number handy so that you can call them on the day to see if they’re still willing to offer you the place. Plan something nice to do with friends or family later in the day so that you have it to look forward to regardless of what happens. Having a game plan for the day makes it so much easier to get through it.
- Get some sleep
Sleep may be the last thing on your mind the evening before results day but a good 40 winks will put you in a good frame of mind to face what lies ahead. Now I know this is probably the hardest to do. You probably have bigger eye bags from staying up late or waking up in the middle of the night than you did when you were actually studying for your exams! Here are things you can do to help you sleep a little better – get up nice and early the morning before rather than having a mammoth lie in. Do try to work in some exercise at some point during the day so that you’re nice and tired when you go to bed. Avoid too much caffeine, especially six hours before you go to bed, and have a nice, relaxing bath in the evening. Resist the urge to go over and over your exams in your head because it won’t help and there’s really nothing you can do about it now. It might be an idea to stay off social media if exams are all everyone seems to be talking about because it’ll only make you feel worse.
It’s not as bad as you think it is. If you do have any worries, you can write to us in the comments section below. Results day is approaching for most of you, keep calm and party on people! Trust me when I say this, that one examination you did will not and cannot determine the rest of your life’s windings. It’s up to you to take it from there on and hustle a little harder and push yourself a little further if you end up results that you didn’t expect – they do have a way of creeping up to you sometimes.
Good Luck, may the force be with you!