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Exam Stress? How to Be at Peace with Performance, Whatever the Result

Student Life

February 11, 2023

I know the feeling of getting your test back and seeing a low grade, leaving a pit in your stomach and feeling worthless. These scores hold so much importance in our lives, with people constantly telling us how crucial it is to get that A+ and how vital it is to get into the best university in order to have a good life. The truth is that no one has it all figured out, no one is going to hold this one test against you for your life.

There is so much more to life than school, if you ever find yourself overwhelmed and overworked, take a step back and think about the endless possibilities that life holds, an F does not mean your existence comes to an end. The anxiety due to exams will consume you to the point where you mess it up despite how hard you prepared. The pressure of endless exams can leave you overwhelmed and burnt out. How do you handle this?

Think about it, were you doing your best?

If you are not satisfied with your results, pause and think rationally before believing it's the end of the world, because trust me, it's far from that. Did you put in the work to prepare? If not, then you know what you have to change, and you know what you have to do next time to do better and not face such a feeling of disappointment again. If yes, then you need to look at where you're going wrong, what you missed out on studying, and what you could've studied better.

Failure is not the end, it motivates you to do better the next time. We need certain wake-up calls in our life to know when we need to step up and take control. That's just the reality of how the world works, and it is important for us to experience such things.

Don't take criticism harshly, take each misstep, each failure, and each remark as a learning opportunity and you will soon start to see yourself thrive. The way in which you look at your life and control your actions is the way in which you will start to live the life you once dreamed of.

I know there are students who cannot be at peace with their performance even if they have done relatively well, this is perfectly normal as it's a drive to always do better and be better, helping you to grow as a person. Being hardworking and wanting to achieve the best is not a bad quality but just proves that you are ready to put in the work and effort to accomplish your goals.

However, this drive should never have you beating yourself up and putting unnecessary pressure on you, then it begins to take a toll on your mental well-being. You should always be proud of what you have achieved, it's an amazing thing what you are capable of and you have your whole life ahead of you to further showcase your potential.

How are you going to improve yourself?

There are several ways to better yourself in anything you do. In 10th grade, I got a C in my math mid-terms, but by the end of my finals I got an A*. This was not easy, but it involved me realizing that, yes, I am disappointed in how I performed, but how am I going to change that?

The change starts when you decide to make it. Ask for help if you can or go online and look at the endless YouTube videos that give helpful advice. There are several study methods that could work better for you, you just have to find and implement them.

Blurting is a method I find significantly useful. Much of school does depend on memorizing. Read your notes well, understand the concepts and then go on to take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything you remember.

Check what you missed out on and this will help you to remember everything that is needed for your test, BUT do not forget to understand the concepts well before memorizing, otherwise, you will have no idea what is going on inside your mind. Making mindmaps, flowcharts and even using a whiteboard to act like you're teaching someone else is an effective way of learning and visualising your work in a better way, making studying fun! After all of this, make sure to answer some practice questions and past papers as it always gives you an idea of how the actual exam will be.

Especially for math, make sure you keep solving. Math is solely practice.

I hope some of these ideas were helpful for you. If not, you can always do what works best for you, but remember not to leave anything for the last minute. The biggest issue we face in school is procrastination.

We have all been there, but is it really the best choice? Sometimes procrastination works out, making us feel like we can continue to do it because we face no consequences. It's common human nature to think like this but the stress of last-minute work should not be the motivation for you to actually do your task.

This is a downward spiral that will just leave you overwhelmed at the end of it. Focus on finishing things bit by bit over a period of time rather than letting it all pile up for the end. Trust me this is a life-saver.

Being a student, exam stress is something you cannot avoid. It will always exist, so rather than letting it consume you, figure out a way to handle and work with it. Bad grades are not the end of your life, you are meant to make mistakes and learn from them, it's the only way to grow and evolve.

Each one of us is different, you may be bad at something and amazing at something else. You will find what sets you apart and you will excel at it, only if you make sure to never give up on yourself.

Aaliyah Gala
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