PLAB 2 is a long and expensive exam; you may have been saving for years and studying for months just to be able to take it. Naturally, you are feeling nervous about your performance during the day. Trust us, we know the feeling well! That is why we are sharing some of our main tips on how to cope with anxiety before and during the exam.
Before the exam
- Have days off and get enough sleep. We know that time is precious and, oftentimes, limited. However, it is important to take time off to relax. Also, a prolonged period of sleep deprivation will only damage your chances of success during the exam. Make sure to plan your schedule (daily, weekly and monthly) well enough to ensure those highly needed 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Exercise and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, are fantastic ways to take your mind off your studies. They will also help you concentrate better when you are studying.
- Learn a relaxation technique in advance so that you can utilize it if you need to. Have you heard of mindfulness? This might be a great time to check it out!
Panic the night and the morning before
- Try to avoid working too close to the exam. I cannot emphasize this point enough! Do not stay up late the night before or get up early on the morning of the exam. A good night’s sleep is more valuable than an extra few hours of revision.
- Make sure you are thoroughly prepared for the exam to minimize your worries. Check that you have got the right time and location, all the documents you need and lay out your clothes for the next day.
- Watch a movie or have dinner with friends. This can help you take your mind off the exam.
- Remember to eat! I had a large, yummy and nutritional breakfast right before the exam that provided me all the fuel I needed for that morning. Make sure you do the same!
Panic during the exam
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Repeat this whenever you begin to feel anxious. You will not get marked down for pausing to take a few deep breaths!
- Read through the instructions and questions slowly and carefully.
- Plan how you will approach the station. This is important as it helps your speech flow and it will prevent you from going blank during the stations.
What if, after doing all this, you still find it hard to relax?
If you are finding things difficult at the moment and would like further support, contacting a counsellor could be a great idea.
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this.
Best of luck!
Dr Irene Baez
Irene is Medical Advisor for Bromley Emergency Courses and has recently taken PLAB 2.