Exam stress. How to avoid it?

Casvi Villaviciosa > Orientación > Exam stress. How to avoid it?
Como combatir estrés frente a los exámenes en Casvi Villaviciosa

Strategies to reduce stress in Casvi Villaviciosa

The 2nd year Diploma Programme (IB) students at Casvi Villaviciosa have just started the final exams that will lead them to the coveted diploma. A situation in which exam stress can be a reality for many of them. According to psychology professor Giuseppe Iandolo, “between 15% and 25% of students experience high levels of anxiety before the assessment”.  Why does this stress arise, who is most prone to it, how can we work to avoid it, and most importantly, how do we do it? And most importantly, how do we do it at Eurocolegio Casvi International Private School?

Como combatir estrés frente a los exámenes en Casvi Villaviciosa

Why does exam stress arise?

All anxiety is a reaction to the anticipation of something stressful, in this case, exams. It affects both the body and the mind. When a person is under stress, their body releases a hormone called adrenaline, which prepares them to react to danger. This is what causes bodily symptoms such as sweating, pounding in the chest and rapid breathing.

Focusing on the bad things that can happen also feeds exam stress. If we have too many thoughts like “what if I blank?” or “what if the exam is too hard?”, there will be no space left in our minds to focus on the exam questions.

Como combatir estrés frente a los exámenes en Casvi Villaviciosa

Which people are more prone to exam stress?

According to Elena Gallegos, a therapist at UNINPSI, people who tend to worry a lot about things or who are very perfectionist are more likely to have problems with exam stress. So are students who have not prepared well for the exam, but who nevertheless care about doing well. Students who may come from any of the IB programmes at Casvi Villaviciosa -PYP (Infant and Primary), MYP and DP.

This analysis leads university lecturer Fernando Miralles to explain that the problem lies in society and its ever-increasing demand. “In Baccalaureate, students already have to decide what they want to do in the future, so the stress starts earlier”.

Como combatir estrés frente a los exámenes en Casvi Villaviciosa

How can you work to avoid this kind of stress?

There are many strategies that can reduce exam stress. Some can even be found in the anxiety reaction itself. When you feel stress, your heart rate increases to pump more blood to your brain, lungs and muscles, which in turn increases your ability to concentrate. That’s why a little nervousness before an exam is normal and can even help sharpen the mind and focus attention.

However, according to psychologist Guillermo Ballenato, the important thing is to adjust the level of anxiety to a medium point, given that “adequate performance is obtained at medium levels of activation”.

But there are more ways to reduce exam stress:

  • Establishing a consistent pre-test routine.
  • Talking to the teacher. Making sure you understand what you are going to test, and finding out how to prepare for it.
  • Learning relaxation techniques such as taking deep breaths, relaxing your muscles, closing your eyes and imagining positive results…
  • Not forgetting to eat and drink but avoiding sugary drinks, which can cause blood glucose to peak and then drop, or caffeinated drinks, which can increase anxiety.
  • Getting regular aerobic exercise. Doing this on the day of the exam can ease tensions.
  • And getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is directly related to academic performance.
  • Other strategies to reduce stress in exams in Casvi Villaviciosa

  • At Casvi Villaviciosa, students are taught study techniques and exam strategies from a very early age, from the final years of the PYP and during the MYP stage, culminating in the Baccalaureate and Diploma Programme.
  • Tutorial action. At Casvi Villaviciosa, tutors and teachers help pupils to plan their study time. They do so according to their individuality. Each of them has a context when it comes to choosing the tools that help them to optimise their time.
  • It is much better to study a little at a time than to study everything at once. Planning our time is key to academic success.
  • Do not ignore learning difficulties. Adapting assessment access measures to the individual characteristics of each pupil, whether learning difficulties, emotional disorders or Attention Deficit Disorder, helps pupils to face exams with more confidence. This is a work that Casvi Villaviciosa does collaboratively between the Guidance Department and the teaching staff. In addition, it is agreed with the pupils in higher grades.