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The Importance of Being Healthy During Exams

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Getting sick or overly stressed during exams can undermine your efforts on these important tests. The same good habits that lessen your chances of succumbing to illness can also keep your stress levels under control. Discover why it's important to be healthy during exams, and how to stay that way.

Health and Mental Concentration

Health is both a physical state and a state of mind. Wellness, or good health, requires ongoing effort to make positive choices and keep your life in balance. When you are healthy, you are better equipped to deal with the physical and mental challenges of everyday life.

A state of good health allows you to relax and focus. You can absorb and recall information better than when you're ill since you're not dealing with distractions such as fever, aches, or nausea.

The Problem of Makeup Exams

Staying healthy during exams doesn't just mean stronger academic performance. It can also help you avoid logistical problems caused by illness.

Getting a bad cold during exam week might mean having to reschedule several of your midterms or finals. If you get sick with the flu, you may need the entire week to recover.

Let's say you would normally have a week to take five exams, with one exam scheduled each day. After becoming too ill to take any of your scheduled exams, you find out that there are only two days allocated for makeup exams. Instead of taking one exam each day as you had expected to do, you might wind up taking two exams one day, and three the next. The makeup schedule would leave you with less time to study and rest between exams.

Student visiting doctor

Depending on the school and teacher policies, you may be asked to produce medical documentation to excuse your absence and prove that you have a legitimate reason for requesting a makeup exam. Instead of just staying in bed resting, you'll need to go see a doctor while you're feeling your worst.

Makeup exams also present difficulties for teachers, who often hear student excuses for missing exams. They must determine which of these excuses are legitimate without implying a lack of trust in their students. However, since the situation could be exploited, teachers sometimes need to create a separate set of substitute tests to thwart student cheating. To avoid these issues, some teachers simply refuse to give makeup exams.

Even if your teachers agree to let you delay your tests, scheduling complications could derail your timeline. It's best to maintain healthy habits so you can stick to the original exam schedule.

Healthy Habits for Exam Success

Whether you're worried about the nasty bug that's been going around lately or feeling a tension headache setting in, these four healthy habits will help keep you in good shape for exams:

Adequate Sleep

Getting enough high-quality sleep is critical during exam time. Sleep actually enhances your brain's wiring, effectively enabling you to both think faster and remember information better.

Proper Nutrition

Food fuels both your body and mind. The quality of the food you eat largely determines your overall health and mental acuity.

Eating nutritious food, such as this whole grain and vegetable salad, is an important part of staying healthy during exams.

We would all benefit from becoming more aware of our nutritional choices. Eating whole foods and drinking plenty of water will help you feel physically well and perform better academically.

Stress Management

Unmanaged stress at exam time can cause sleep disruption, headaches, poor concentration, and overconsumption of junk food—all of which can contribute to impaired test performance. This is especially true if you tend to suffer from test anxiety.

Moreover, stress can inhibit your immune system. Depressed immune function often leads to physical illness.

Some stress is inevitable. But finding appropriate ways to deal with stress is key to staying healthy during exams. Positive approaches to stress management include journaling, meditation, quiet times with friends, and physical exercise.

Regular Physical Activity

Exercise is a healthy habit that can mitigate the damaging effects of stress. But stress management is not its only benefit.

Running is one of many forms of exercise that help you stay healthy during exams.

Moderate aerobic exercise improves blood flow and cardiovascular health, benefiting your brain. Physical exercise promotes mental concentration and the ability to recall information, both of which are critical to getting good test grades.

An Exam Success Strategy

The healthy habits you form will create a foundation for exam success. To build on that firm foundation, find exam prep resources for almost any academic or career subject on Study.com.

By Michelle Baumgartner
March 2018
test prep test readiness

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