How to Stay Calm Before Your Final Medical Exams
As medical students in your final year, you are probably used to revising and preparing yourself for your upcoming assessments and exams by now. Whether you have an upcoming practical exam or a written assessment, the truth of it is that these are your final set of exams and there isn’t much left between you and becoming a qualified member of the medical industry! There is always more to learn and more qualifications to gain but there is a great sense of achievement when it comes to finishing medical school.
Despite this, there is a big chance that you still get nervous or anxious before your exam and you may be looking for proven ways to help reduce stress and keep yourself as calm as possible. Some methods are incredibly simple but have a weight of science and proven studies behind them in order to help you remain calm and approach your exams with a level head. Here are just a few of them!
Controlling your breathing
Deep breaths and learning how to breathe properly in times of stress might seem incredibly simple and probably pointless; you’re probably wondering how simply breathing can help you in a stressful situation.
How you breathe is closely linked to stress or anxiety, and getting this under control could help to relieve your symptoms. Deep diaphragmatic breathing can actually activate your body’s relaxation response. Two of our nervous systems, known as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, play a huge part in this. Deep breathing allows our body to go from fight-or-flight mode, known as the sympathetic nervous system, to relaxing, known as the parasympathetic nervous system.
Whether you have tried meditation before or not, there are a lot of different ways it can help, including stress and anxiety. A method that is centuries old, meditation is a proven way of restoring calm.
A man named Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts developed a sub-genre of meditation known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, designed to reduce stress both physically and mentally. An 8-week course, it has been shown that it helps even years after.
This comes up often when trying to find ways of reducing stress, but it works. Despite it often being pitted as a break from revision and to put your mind to something else, there is a science behind exercising.
Physical activity will activate the brain’s ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters known as endorphins; you’ve probably heard of them many times before. These will help you to feel positive and upbeat and is worth doing, even if you really don’t fancy going on that run.
Surround yourself with scents
While this may sound like an odd technique, certain scents will help you to relax and even sleep if that is something you struggle with around exam time. Our olfactory response, which helps us to process smells, is closely linked to the emotional center of our brain.
In other words, a smell will enter our nose and travel through our olfactory bulb. This bulb is part of the limbic system, known as the emotional center of the brain. Lavender has been shown to help induce sleep, while the scent of pine will help to alleviate stress. Citrus scents can help you feel more energized if you need that extra boost during revision!
If you’re looking for more revision material to help you on your journey to passing your final medical exams, get in touch with PasTest.