There's nothing else in the world that can strike fear into the hearts of so many people like exams. Like the creatures that go bump in the night, and the tales told around the campfire, the mere mention of them can keep the most studious person up at night, huddled under a blanket and waiting for the sunrise. Like an illness it spreads quickly by word-of-mouth. As soon as it is spoken, the person is infected and the symptoms appear. These may include a particular affinity to staying up all night and being self-quarantined in a bedroom. Watch out for the increased appetite and fatigue, and the inevitable under-eye bags and frequent crying, for which there is only one known cure-- caffeine (preferably, Starbucks or Tim Hortons).

A sort of intellectual Hunger Games, only the mentally fit  and the well-organized survive, while the procrastinators and their cohorts are left in the dust. However, in this arena there are no distinct winners and losers, for each term is uniquely defined by the "volunteers" themselves. While there is no Mockingjay to bring salvation to the people, there IS still hope. With a bit of determination, perseverance and organization, one can still be crowned victor and ace their exams (before having to repeat the process for the next one). With a bit of mental stamina and strategy (ie. my tips and tricks), one student can go on like this for weeks at a time.

To wrap up part three of this test stress series,  I've decided to go out with a bang. I've saved the best (and the most fun) tip for last.

I've previously mentioned how I used to get nervous right before major tests. I would get so worked and forget everything I had studied, sending all of my hardwork and note-taking down the drain. This school year has definitely been filled with many new experiences (both good and bad), and I've used the lessons I've learned from my misfortunes to create the advice that helped me to decrease my "test stress" just in time for exam season.

Of all of the tricks I've used to calm down and get in the zone I found that writing an open letter helped me to get into the right mindset. Give it a funny title. Make it a rant. Unleash your creativity. Just vent your thoughts, frustrations and worries, and then rip it up. Shred it, cut it, toss it out, it doesn't matter just get rid of it. I find that acknowledging the negative emotions--rather than suppressing them--helps to relieve a lot of pressure . Then, the actual act of destroying the letter makes it all the more "official" and makes me feel better. Just remember to give yourself sufficient time to write it, read it over and properly dispose of it.

~Alexandra XO

What would you write in your open letter?

P.S. Check out How to Deal with Stress the Day Before the Big Test (part 1) and How to Deal with Stress the Day of the Big Test (part 2).