Students are so used to wait for these final exam essays with the sense of dread and desperation that such title may look like a joke. However, in reality they’re not that horrible: people write them successfully, have been writing them successfully and probably will go on doing it, and most of them don’t faint in the process but emerge more or less intact from the experience. The only reason for fear is inside your own mind; if you put a leash on it, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Ways of Keeping Stress at Bay
- Don’t drive yourself to hysteria. Really, much of your terror is caused by your own constant thinking about the ways you may and will fail, concentrating on the horribleness of the experience and all its possible repercussions. Well, don’t. Of course it is important and will have consequences. But don’t you have enough problems already without setting your own mind against yourself?
- Don’t hurry. You are generally given a reasonable amount of time for your essay. Those in charge know how much time one usually spends on it, and plan accordingly. Don’t try to complete the essay in the first ten minutes: firstly, it is impossible, secondly, it will result in a mess. Don’t dawdle, of course, but don’t rush either.
- Plan. It corresponds to the previous point. You may think that when the time is so limited, you can’t afford to spend it on planning. Wrong. Time spent on planning will return to you tenfold because there won’t be sudden realizations that you have forgotten to mention something vital in the first paragraph when you are nearing completion and you will be able to make the entire text more logical and completed.
- Stretch your legs. While it is unlikely that you will be allowed to take a walk, don’t forget that change in activity is extremely important in any kind of work, and the couple of hours you spend sitting when writing your final exam essay will eventually start to take toll on your brain. If you are not allowed to stand up, at least stretch your arms and legs, hollow out the back, rotate the joints – anything to make your blood move a little bit faster.
But the best way to avoid stress when writing a final exam essay is to approach it well-prepared. Don’t put off your reading until the last possible moment, practice writing it giving yourself a random topic (or the one from the same final exam held last year) and trying to write it under the same conditions you will have on the examination day.
And don’t be afraid.