Today's post is all about how you can get your school/college/university work done and done efficiently with minimum stress impact. Exams and essays without stress...is it possible? Yep!We all know the consequences of stress; your immune system decreases, anxiety levels rise, nerves hike and let's be honest - a minimal amount of work actually gets done because you're too busy worrying and stressing over it!
In my own experience, whenever I have an essay, project or exam deadline coming up, I will go through different stages of stress but I have learnt to control it in a roundabout way. First I will go through some stress emotions I'm sure everyone experiences at one point or another:
- The initial "when your teacher sets the deadline" stress. You know it's about a month away but you feel like you shouldn't be enjoying what free time you have because it's always at the back of your mind.
- When you do your best to forget about the deadline but then a week or so later, it hits you again and you start thinking "I really should get started on this essay/project/exam revision".
- When you actually sit down to start it and you find yourself sitting staring at the same blank page 2 hours later and you're putting more pressure on yourself to actually get something started but this pressure is preventing you from actually allowing yourself to write anything because all you can think about it the blank screen in front of you.
- A week before the deadline and you've thankfully got something written down, whether it's a first draft or you're nearly ready to make the finishing touches and you finally start to feel a bit calmer about the whole situation and you can see the finish line.
- You are now making the finishing touches and you're reading over your essay/revising what you've memorised and you realise you haven't properly answered the question/you can't remember anything.
- This is the worst part because it's fight or flight - you either rectify it by making major adjustments and quickly/cram in lots of revision until you feel your brain can't take it anymore or you just give up and think "what will be will be" and hope for the best.
- Then there's the after stress of handing it in and waiting for the dreaded result.
Hopefully, this doesn't happen every single time you have an essay/exam but don't worry - you aren't alone!
Now here's some tips I've learnt to stop the stresses above from happening again:
- When you get an essay/exam date, spend the first day thinking about what possible options you have, what you could write about and how you plan to do it. Don't write anything down, just think about it!
- A couple of days (maximum 3 days) make a plan. Even if it's quite rubbish. Jot down in bullet point form what you might want your first, second, third, fourth etc., paragraph to include. If it's for an exam: write what you need to know, how long you're going to need on each section (be realistic - this is why you've started early. Don't give yourself 2 hours for one topic, try and give yourself at least a day and a half/ 2 days on each section/topic). Writing plans, as geeky as it may seem, calm me down a lot. With a plan, I've got everything written down that I need to know and remember, so when you see it actually on paper I feel more at ease knowing I have some sort of plan. I always freak out when I don't have a plan because I think "what if I've forgotten something important", but having it written down stops you from making that mistake!
- My biggest and best tip for you is this: Unless you really don't care much about your essays/projects/exams, you aren't going to not do it. At the end of the day, you will complete your essay, you will go into your exam knowing at least something. So whilst you're stressing now and thinking "I'm never going to get this done!" trust yourself enough to know that you aren't going to go in unprepared for it!
I hope this was helpful to those who are like me and go through all of these steps on a regular basis but I always try to remind myself of the tips I've listed above to stop me from stressing so much!
Let me know if this was helpful to you & if you also stress as much as I do when I get deadlines!
Thank you for reading!
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