Stress can be a good thing. A little stress helps you focus and direct your efforts to the maximum output. Everybody knows this is true – have you ever tried to study while sitting outside on a nice, sunny, warm day, with a pleasant breeze? Did you find yourself relaxing, feeling a bit sleepy? Contrast this to the night before an important test – did you find that you were able to stay up late, studying later? Both of these are natural physiological and psychological reactions to stress (or the absence of stress).
But what about when the stress gets to be too much? Too much stress doesn’t give you an advantage or direct your energy effectively. It can cause you to panic, and even have anxiety attacks. How do you best control your stress to a helpful level? Well, it’s all about preparation and organisation. Stress develops when you lose control, and you feel that work is getting away from you. So the first and most important strategy is planning – you need to know what you have to do, and when you have to have each task done by. This means using your diary – and using it well. There will be another post later about how to use your diary/ planner, but for now, the important thing is to write every task into your diary immediately on receiving the information, and onto the year planner as well. You need to write a list for each assessment task telling you what must be done, and then schedule time for each task during your study time.
Lack of preparation can mean an exam crack up: