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*REVEALED* THE 5 TYPES OF EXAM STRESS

Dear BE members,

Are you finding it a real challenge to find a seat in your favourite cafe to sip your cuppa coffee lately? I am a coffee lover and I love visiting a good cosy coffee house. Lately, it’s been a chore to have a good cuppa coffee in-store. So, believe me when I say that I feel your frustrations too. On the other hand, there is another group of people I empathise with lately – students.

We are now experiencing September and the big O is next. If you are thinking ‘October’, you aren’t wrong. If you are thinking ‘O’ Level, then BINGO!

Exams can be overwhelmingly stressful for some. Pardon me for sounding like a crybaby [Sorry lah! I was not the ACE student my mum prayed for lor. Let me whine abit ok?]

**Warning: The following content might sound exaggerated. I thank you for your kind understanding and tolerance in advance.

#throwbackto my life as a student.

Before you start picturing me as a frantic student pounding my chest and gasping for air all the time, stop. Let me clarify, a recent poll [yes, conducted in my group of friends] suggested that I am a ZEN person. Usually.

So, when does my ZEN switch get flipped? Exam periods – What is typically known as Hell Week.

#throwbackto Hell Week when I was a student:

Yup, heightened sense of panic and anxiety. That was me. I came to realise that my short-lived exam stress gave rise to unnecessary anxieties, which then interfered with my exam performances.

Interestingly [perhaps not so interesting for the stressed out students at the moment], exam stress can manifest itself in many ways. It depends on the individual and the way he/she handles stress. Let me share with you 5 types of EXAM-stress-ed schoolmates I have had:

1. Binge Eater

Their theory? Eating kept them awake and gave the brain sufficient nutrients to absorb more information. [Because the greater the amount of food in the stomach, the greater the amount of information in the brain right?]

My thoughts? Moderate snacking might be an effective way to make exam preparations more bearable. However, too much junk food is unhealthy to both the mind and the body!

2. Midnight Meltdown

This was observed amongst schoolmates who found themselves mentally unprepared for the upcoming exam. Amusingly, it was a way for some to cope with the anxiety. [Till today, I am still unable to comprehend this!]

My thoughts? This is not very productive as insufficient sleep causes the human brain to be exhausted and less functional during examinations. Furthermore, such mental breakdown only results in unnecessary panic and greater stress. Stress begets stress. Soon, the mind focuses on stressful thoughts so much that critical examination information gets clouded. [This is when ‘mind-blank’ happens.]

3. Insomnia Victim

I belonged to the type of students who sleeps at 10PM sharp during exam period. While I was sound asleep, my phone would continue to receive messages from some of my schoolmates at ungodly hours [3AM, 4AM, 5AM! I mean…C’mon it is 5 FREAKING AM!], These ‘night scholars’ had the habit of reciting excessive amount of information right before their sleep.

My thoughts? Some people find it more effective to study at night and that is fair enough. However, it is essential to find ample rest. Taking to the extreme method of staying up all night might affect your sleep cycle, hinders your optimal brain performance during in the day, and ultimately affects your examination performance. Remember, while studying is important, do remember to get enough sleep!

4. Caught In An Endless Study-loop

Some tend to launch into a seemingly infinite cycle of studying without any breaks. In their defence, breaks were a waste of time and time could be better utilised to study.

My thoughts? Please do not forget, scientific research has shown that taking breaks in between hours of studying is beneficial to the mind. this allows the brain to take time to process and ‘lock in’ the information that has been studied throughout the day. Please do not forget that you deserve to relax yourself after long hours of studying!

5. Suicidal 

Thankfully, this manifested really mildly amongst my schoolmates. Nevertheless, we should remain aware that there are extreme cases where exam stress led to severe emotional breakdowns. When one inflicts too much stress upon himself/herself or faces tremendous pressure from his/her surroundings, one might find it unbearable to persevere on. Suicide might be deemed as an easy escape from suffocating stress for some. 

My thoughts? We should remind ourselves and our fellow friends that exams are merely passing phases designed to test our academic ability. It does not determine our ability to survive/succeed in the society. So, always keep a positive mindset! Be prepared and do your best! [BTW, all 5 types of my schoolmates graduated! So, statistics have shown that you can too!]

Before I sign off, let me just share what my friends and I learnt during our school days. To cope with the different types of stress, try doing the following:

  1. Take breaks in between study hours
  2. Exercise and head outdoors for a breather
  3. Make notes to help you remember information better
  4. Keep a study checklist so that you don’t study blindly
  5. STAY POSITIVE 😀

Good Luck!

Best Regards, The BE Team

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