Squash Your Exam Anxiety with These 6 Memory ExercisesGuest post written by Helen Wallis
It’s not uncommon for students to experience some level of anxiety before an exam. In fact, in most circumstances it’s expected; however, when it affects performance and causes stress outside the classroom, it needs addressing.
The truth is, sometimes it doesn’t matter how prepared you are academically. Extreme nervousness can be a major hindrance and cause memory lapses and even physical illness. The trick is to increase your confidence and reinforce the notion of control.
If you’re struggling to cope with exam anxiety, these memory exercises may help.
|Too much anxiety can cause memory lapses. / PicCredit|
1. Create keyword lists
According to revision expert Justin Craig, creating keyword lists is the perfect way to learn a particular topic. Keywords are easy to memorize and will in turn trigger other memories. For example, if you’re revising the origins of the Second World War, compile a list of its causes: Treaty of Versailles, Weimar Republic, etc. Once you have compiled and memorized the list give it to a friend or family member and keep going through it until you can fully explain each word or term in detail.
2. Reward yourself with a treat
This may seem childish, but integrating a reward system into your revision routine can be an excellent way to boost your productivity. Even something insignificant, such as a sweet, can significantly increase your motivation. Set yourself a target to revise for a certain amount of time or memorize a certain amount of words, and then give yourself a reward. Repeat the process over and over.
3. Teach others what you have learned
After each day’s work, teach your parents or siblings what you have learned. Don’t worry if you have to use your revision notes as the point is to repeat what you’ve researched out loud and explain the details. Tell whoever your teaching to ask you questions to ensure you cover the topic as broadly as possible.
4. Create mental associations
One of the best things about making mental associations is that they allow you to both think creatively and boost your memory at the same time. Create easy-to-remember rhymes and stories and relate them to the topic that you’re revising. Children often use this age-old technique to remember certain facts and figures; and there’s a good reason why.
5. Do something physical beforehand
Okay, so you can’t just get up in the middle of an exam and have a leisurely jog, but you can do something beforehand. According to Harvard Medical School 30-40 minutes of light to moderate physical exercise per day is an excellent stress reliever. Of course, you don’t want to tire yourself out before an exam, but taking a 30 minute stroll or jog can be the perfect way to get into a relaxed mindset.
6. Take a breather
If you ever start to feel overwhelmed and can’t remember something, put down your pen and take a few minutes to breath and relax. If you still can’t remember, move on and go back to the question later.
Fundamentally, the more prepared you are the less anxiety you will feel. Give yourself plenty of time in the build-up to your exams to prepare and use a variety of different revision methods. Perform mock examinations; revise with friends and family; ask your teachers for past papers; and basically do whatever it takes to lock the information inside until the day comes.
Helen Wallis, based in leafy Hertfordshire, UK, is a keen blogger/writer for years and regular reader of Malaysia Students blog.
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