Exams: How to Keep a Positive Mindset

Let us tell you a secret… We all know how stressful and nerve-racking exams can be. If you’ve felt your confidence and calmness levels plummet recently, you’re not alone! Here are a few strategies that you can use to maintain a positive mindset. Let’s find what works best for you!

Stay Positive

How can you stop worrying about worst-case scenarios? When suffering from a crisis of confidence, remind yourself of your abilities and past successes. And focus on your ongoing improvement and your strengths.

In addition, don’t forget to often encourage yourself with positive affirmations. It’s no surprise that the way we talk about ourselves has an impact on how we feel and perform. Positive affirmations such as ‘I’m doing better than I think!’ and ‘I’ll give it my all and I’ll succeed!’ can really help. Well, self-talk has become the new buzzword in psychology — and for good reason. Everyone can benefit from a mood boost! 

tip 🗸 Instead of focusing on negative words, choose to use more positive ones. For example, when we think that a task is too difficult, we become demotivated, right? But what if we just thought that it is challenging and interestingly provocative? 

Stay Organised 

No, you shouldn’t study for 8 hours (or more) straight because exams are approaching! Create a study schedule and make sure to break up your study sessions into manageable chunks of time. That will help you to avoid procrastinating and then feeling guilty about it! 

What’s more, setting clear and achievable goals for your exams will help you stay focused and motivated. Appreciate every step you’re taking and record your progress during the revision period. That will help you to feel that you’ll have a sense of control. 

tip 🗸 Taking practice tests and finding out what the testing environment is going to be like usually help most students to deal with anxiety, beat exam stress and keep a positive mindset.

Stay Connected 

Go for a brisk walk with a classmate or friend and talk about your feelings before your exams. Most candidates usually experience (and internalise) the same strange and uncomfortable feelings of nervousness and anxiety. So, if you do have a bad case of butterflies in your stomach, having a talk about it may be all you need! This seems a bit obvious, doesn’t it?

But you can also reach out to your teachers for encouragement. You may think that you don’t need that kind of support, but wait a sec… Do you know what the infamous ‘duck syndrome’ is? Hmm… It is usually used for university students who seem calm but experience increased levels of stress and anxiety. So, you may feel that no one can relate to what you’re going through right now. But we’ve all been there. And that’s why as English teachers and tutors we can help!

tip 🗸 Is the difficulty level of the approaching exams the cause of this nervousness? Or should we blame the belief that there is a huge imbalance between what you know and what you can prove you know during the exam? Well, if your teacher thinks you are ready to take an exam… you are! Everyone has moments of self-doubt but listening to the sound and helpful advice and thoughts of an experienced professional won’t let your brain go into the infamous fight-or-flight mode that can paralyse you.

Stay Healthy 

Last but not least, get enough sleep, take more exercise and remember that music and mood are inherently linked. So, listen to your favourite song one more time! Being physically and mentally healthy helps you to make this period stress-free. 

There you have it. In a nutshell, you should do whatever can help you to reduce stress, increase focus and lift your spirits. And don’t forget to take a look at our useful article What you should do the day before your exams to increase your chances of success!

Everybody ready? As Shakespeare put it, “doubts are traitors”. So, stop doubting your abilities. You’ll certainly succeed in the end if you just stay the course. Good luck! 🍀

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