What's the best way to deal with exam results nerves?

How best to avoid stress...
08 August 2017



What's the best way to deal with exam results nerves?


Chris asks for the top-tips from Cambridge University's Olivia Remes...

Olivia - If you’re feeling stressed because you’re waiting for your exam results, or if you’re feeling stressed because of any other reason, there is some is something that you can do and it’s very effective. Basically, as soon as you feel this stress coming on to you, these worries, if there is something that you can do about  the situation - do it. If not, then drop the thought and redirect your attention elsewhere.

Chris - Isn’t that easier said than done though Olivia?

Olivia - It takes practice and this is all based on research that has looked at problem focused coping versus emotional based coping. So when we ruminate a lot about something, when we obsess about something that’s stressing us out, something that’s worrying us, and it might interfere with our sleep, with our work, this can lead to anxiety and depression, so we want to avoid that. You want to use problem focused coping, which basically means focusing on solutions.

In the case of exam results, there is nothing you can do about it, so drop the thought. And a way to make it easier on yourself to do that is to place your attention on something else so focus either on the task at hand or focus on your surroundings. If you’re outside feel the wind in your hair, hear the birds chirping, notice the colour of the trees, be completely in the present moment.

What I think is very interesting is,  Cornell did this study a while back and asked people at the end of their lives what they regretted most, and if there was something they could change. What most people said was they regretted that they had spent so much time worrying. Worrying does not lead to good things so it is best to just drop that. If you can solve the problem solve it, if not just redirect your attention.

Chris - I was in a maternity unit once and there was this picture of newborn baby, and the sign underneath said the first five minutes of a newborn baby’s life are the most terrifying of all, the most risky of all. Someone had written underneath - the last five minutes are pretty frightening too! But I get your point that we do spend a lot of time worrying about things and perhaps we could avoid spending so much time worrying about them.


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