Tips for Handling Study Stress
Study stress plagues every Singaporean student.
Beginning with preparations for major exams such as the PSLE, O, N and A Levels, nearly every phase of a student’s life is characterised by a relentless need to get good, if not great, marks. This is especially so if the student is stressed by the English Language subject because components such as composition and comprehension can be difficult to prepare for.
Since some students will find study stress unavoidable, it is tremendously important for students to learn how to handle it. This article aims to provide practical advice on how to reduce study stress by suggesting methods to manage workload efficiently, Overarchingly, the importance of personal will in following through with these methods of handling study stress is also emphasised.
Breaking Down the Task
Firstly, handling study stress requires the ability to break the work that needs to be done into small, doable chunks on a daily or weekly basis.
This is the opposite of panicking about huge looming exams and the extent of material involved without having a viable plan to handle them at the last minute. Focusing on achievable short-term targets and accomplishing them daily also eliminates one of the fundamental reasons for study stress-not knowing the information that is required in exams. Some students may harbour inertia towards creating study schedules, which is a very human tendency. However, the student must ‘want’ the end goal – avoid study stress – to the extent that the goal overrides inertia.
Thus, the first step of handling study stress is to understand how to break down work into doable portions daily and also having the will to do so.
Understanding Unknown Fears
The ability to handle study stress also stems from dissipating unknown fears, whether they come from taking exams or from understanding the content tested.
Beyond breaking down work that needs to be done into smaller portions, as noted above, it is also essential to understand the bigger picture of how such information can be applied in the exams. By doing so, the unknown – exams – will most likely seem less intimidating and stressful simply because one will know what to expect. This is especially so in the case of English essay exams from a secondary-level onwards, with broad topics and a seemingly never-ending array of information.
Moreover, it is also deeply necessary to be clear about what information one doesn’t know, and have the will to methodologically clarify such queries. Indeed, this ensures that the content of exams and subjects are not simply nameless, mysterious fears that augment in one’s mind and hence adds to stress. Thus, be they teachers, parents, or certain reliable friends, study stress can be much better handled by regularly posing questions to them aimed at clarifying specific doubts on content.
Indeed, while it can be tempting and relieving in the short-term to simply give in to stress and panic, a more sustainable way in the long term to tackling stress is to aim at clarity of content regularly.
For English Language exams, regardless of whether they are at the PSLE, O/N or A Level, critical reading and critical writing skills are essential in giving students a versatile set of tools to develop analytical thinking. There are really no shortcuts to being consistently good in English. Check out our strategy for students to build firm foundations for English throughout their academic journey.
We wish all students a stress-free and fruitful year of learning ahead.