It’s that time of the year again when students in vocational training colleges and schools have to show what they have been doing throughout 2017. It doesn’t matter whether you attend the best tertiary college in the country or a disadvantaged one somewhere remote, the exam period can be a stressful time for anyone.
For many learners, passing the exams well could be the difference between getting a job they have always dreamt of and having to sit supplementary classes later when others move on to the workplace. Exam stress could be the reason why you end up sitting supplementary exams. In this article, we introduce some ideas that you can follow in order to take the stress out of your final examinations and get into 2018 confident of either getting a job or moving into your next year of study.
Article Table of Contents
You need to sleep
It’s easy for students in vocational college, as they approach their final examinations, to believe that sleeping is a luxury. They notice that all of a sudden they have so much to cover: assignments, project work, and practical activities. This is also coupled with the fact that you still have a life out of vocational college where your friends, family, girlfriend or boyfriend still want your attention. If vocational college students are not careful, the stress associated with the final examinations could leave them feeling as if they are developing insomnia.
The American Psychology Association offers some tips that can assist students who are finding it difficult to sleep sufficiently before the exams.
- Ensure that you don’t discuss issues that can stress you before going to sleep or involving in an argument that could leave you angry.
- It’s important to make sure that your bedroom, or whatever room you sleep in is dark enough. Leave gadgets such as phones and computers out of the bedroom.
- Don’t take a nap in the late afternoon, if you feel sleepy, take a walk around and get some fresh air.
- Just before the exams, set a study timetable and train your body to get used to it and always ensure that by the time you go to sleep you are tired enough.
Manage your meals
It’s easy for students in vocational college suffering from the stress of the final examination to forget that it is important for them to manage the way they eat. Most end up relying on fast foods in order to reserve time for reading. Avoid this as much as you can. Apart from the food you get from the fast food outlet not being good for your body, it is also expensive.
To manage a good diet you can follow a few tips.
- Cook your meals on the weekend. Put them in the fridge in portions that you will eat during the week. This saves both your time and keeps your electricity bill manageable.
- Avoid sugary drinks, the carbohydrates make you feel tired.
- Drink lots of water; it helps you detox
Being organised is important for students facing vocational college examinations. Many students do not have the skill to organise. This leaves them unable to cope with all the demands that pending examinations place on them.
So how do you get organised?
- Clean the place where you are studying. This ensures that you know where everything is. You don’t have to waste time looking for the particular book or past examination paper.
- Even though preparing for the examinations is a busy time, you still need to take some time out. Go out with friends for a chilled evening out. This gives you a chance to unwind. The secret is always never to overdo anything.
- Try to study in different places.
- No matter how much work you feel you have, always remember to include breaks. This will ensure that you do not end up suffering from burnout
Exercise is always good, even during that stressful time before the examinations. It’s easy for students facing vocational college exams to feel that they need to spend every hour they can get studying. However, this should never be the case. A good exercise is great to release all the stress and pressure from both preparing for the exams and also other general life pressures.
A good exercise can also be great to help you take that much-needed break as you prepare for the examinations.
Some of the reasons why exercise is important include some of the following.
- It triggers the release of various hormones such as Dopamine, which is responsible for improving your attention span; Serotonin, which boosts mood and regulates your sleep patterns; and Norepinephrine, which makes you feel more motivated and makes your mind stimulated.
- Increases blood flow to the brain. This oxygenates it and improves the way you understand concepts, allowing you to maintain attentions for extended periods of time. This ensures that your revision session is higher quality.
Apart from the tips above, there are a few more that you can follow such as the ones below.
- This may sound useless for this year but you could use it next year; start studying early in the year. This makes things easier later on in the year when you write your finals.
- Vocational exams require practical skills. Hence, you will need to do lots of practice to ensure that you can work through stuff in a timely manner. Remember it doesn’t matter how good you are at something if you are unable to show it because you have run out of time. Ask your trainer for a practise test.
While the tips above can help you mitigate the stress related to trade schools final exams, sometimes the stress refuses to go away, it is advisable to speak to someone. It doesn’t matter who you talk to. Whether it’s your teacher, a parent friend or the school counsellor, talking could release pressure. It can also help put things in perspective.