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How To Stay Calm During Exam, Interview & Every Other Stressful Situation

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How To Stay Calm During Exam, Interview & Other Anxiety Filled Life Situation 

If you have been in an anxiety filled situation before then you would understand that staying calm can be the hardest thing to do at that point. Such situations can stretch and test your limits to its breaking point. Such situations include an interview, a fight, an exam, a crisis, work etc. A lot of people have lost their cool in the face of these situations (which is only natural but not nice any ways).

Therefore to ensure you remain calm through it all especially if you are temperamental by nature, there are some tips to guide you in the face of these situations. Some of them require nearly the same technique while some are a bit different. The important thing to know is that they take practice and lots of patience and commitment. The moment you master them however, there will be literally nothing to make you break a sweat. Below are some of them:

Tips For Staying Calm In An Interview

Interviews are usually a nightmare for most people. The anxiety, the wait, the anticipation etc all build up to a crescendo in the interviewee’s mind and makes them  nervous. This has also been attributed to the reason why a lot of people do not do well. This not because they are not prepared but because when the anxiety hits them, they become a nervous wreck and may not even to get their words out. To ensure this does not happen to you, here is what to do even before getting into the interview room proper:

Be Calm

This about summarizes everything. Take deep calming breaths. The interview may be huge but remember your life does not end there. Take it as an opportunity to show what you can give. So the moment you are getting still yourself do whatever you see does not bother you. Even if you heard that the interviewer is a very mean person and usually rejects applicants, remain calm. If you are not calm when you have not met the person, how then will you maintain your composure when you eventually do? By that time, you will have already marked yourself out to fail and guess what? That is exactly what will happen!

Arrive Early, But Not Too Early

This is very important. Interviewers love and appreciate punctuality. Make this as a first impression that you leave in their minds. However, do not come too early example, coming about an hour or more before the slated interview time. This will only make you come off as desperate or trying hard to impress. It could also make the person feel like you expect them to leave whatever they are doing and attend to you.

Arriving at the venue about ten minutes before the time is very fine. Do not even be in a hurry to go in. You can actually decide to wait a bit (in your car or the taxi you came in or somewhere close) just to look around and survey the environment. This is very good as it also helps you regain your composure.

Be Friendly To Everyone You Meet: This is one very important interview hack that most people do not know. Some interviews are made to set you up. They are trying out your soft skills and people’s skills that you have. So sometimes you may not know it but the security guards and receptionists are actually monitoring everything you do which they will eventually report to your interviewer.

Therefore once you walk in, greet everyone politely with a smile on your face. Ask for where to sit and them make yourself comfortable. Be sure to greet your fellow interviewees if they are already seated or as they walk in. By doing this, you are already giving them the impression that you are a team player and a people’s person.

Look In a Mirror

You may have stepped out of the house looking dapper and all of that but the journey may have done a number on you. For instance, your well combed hair may now have some few edges slipping off or your lipstick may have wiped off a bit etc. The whole essence is to go check yourself up in the mirror just to reassure yourself of your appearance. You do not want to go in only to find out later that you looked like a scatterbrained vagabond.

This should however be done almost immediately after you have arrived. Or you can patiently wait to see if they will give you all numbers. If this is the case, then be patient till you have gotten yours before ducking into the restroom.

Stop Rehearsing

Yes! Enough with the rehearsal already. At this point, it should be assumed that you have read and rehearsed everything you need before the interview. St this point, you should be going through everything in your head and possibly adding some new ones to it. The reason why it inadvertently used that you stop rehearsing is this: you will most likely be bringing out sheets of paper where you scribbled some notes down, this will make you appear flustered and very cur the picture of someone who is not serious. Do the whole preparation at home, then come prepared.

Now that you know some of the things you need to do before getting into the interview, here are some tips to maintain your levelheadedness while in it:

Breathe Normally

The moment you begin to show the interviewer that you are nervous, he or she will get the feeling that you are not the right candidate. The essence of every interview is to know your skill (not just educationally) but otherwise. Sometimes, interviewers are harsh on purpose. It is just a ploy to see if they can tweak you and get under your flesh. So no matter the questions you are being asked, even if they have been repeated before or you feel they are unnecessary, calmly answer the question and ask to repeat the ones you feel you do not understand.

Make Eye Contacts

Making eye contacts tells the interviewer that you are confident and sure of what you are saying. However, do not make too much eye contact as they can even make the interviewer feel really uncomfortable. Make the eye contacts fleeting. Also, do not keep your hands on your lap. It is always better to keep on the table this way, the interviewer is sure that  you are not fidgeting.

Answer Questions Directly

You are most likely not the only one to be interviewed that day so please, cut the interviewer some slack plus the other applicants. When a question is asked, give a direct answer with as little illustration as possible. Do not bore the interviewer with a long tale thinking you are trying to impress him/her. There can only be an exception to this if you are explain further or give vivid examples of where you have done a particular thing.

Another event or situation that can make you loose your cool is the exam hall. Most students dread exams so much that as it is approaching, some of them take ill or begin making some alternative arrangements.

This should not be the case especially if you have prepared adequately for it. Some exams however on their own are quite capable of throwing you off balance regardless of how much you have prepared. To rake care of it from every angle, here are some tips to guide you while in the hall even if the questions are really tough:

Start With The Compulsory Question(s)

This is one thing students miss that make them to either fail or not get the grade they would have. Once you get your exam scripts, the first thing you should look out for are the compulsory questions and of course you know they carry more marks. Spend more time on them and ensure you answer them to the best of your knowledge.

It is after you have adequately answered every single one of them that you can them proceed to the optional ones. This way, you will be sure of getting almost all the marks allotted for that one as well as the marks you will still get from the other ones you answered.

Know the Best Strategy For Each Exam You Are Writing

Here is what I mean: some examiners will like you to give them examples and illustrations while others will prefer you cut the long chase and go straight to the point. So knowing how each examiner wants their questions answered is going to be a big bonus for you. Some will actually want you to replicate everything they have given in their textbooks or notes. The thing is, give it to them as they like it. The important thing to do is to ensure that you know every lecturer’s strategy. You can actually find out this even from when they are teaching. The ones that go straight to the point without giving too much details will most likely want that in their papers.

Mind the Clock

I see no reason why you should even go to an exam hall without a wrist watch. Let’s assume that there is no clock in the hall, what will you use then? Definitely not your phone as everyone will think you want to cheat with it.

Once the exam starts, check the starting time and stopping time. Then time how many minutes you want to spend on any question then start. Ensure that in tour timing, you also set time out for revision of the paper before you finally submit.


Some times, what we see in the exam hall may throw us off balance or it may seem as though we did not prepare adequately. If you have prepared, the answers will come to you. Just take some calming breaths, relax and then start. Never be in a hurry to answer any question: think through before proceeding with any question to avoid mistakes.

The next situation that is very capable of making you misbehave is a fight. Sometimes conflicts and disagreements arise from our misunderstandings with our fellow humans and the result, when we cannot settle amicably is always a fight.

Yet in all these, if it is within your means, even while in a fight they not to lose your total control. This is why some fights get bloody and people die because, they allowed their emotions get the better of them:

Do not Panic

Panic is one of the worst things that can happen to you while in a fight. So just because your opponent looks bigger and stronger is no reason for you to feel deflated. What if you are quicker than him? Which means before he even raises his hand to deal you a blow you may have gotten in some punches. Therefore, whenever you are involved in a fight, think of ways to weaken your opponent not panic.

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Do not lose your breaths because of a fight. Take deep breaths – you need all the air you can get. Ensure that you do not cone too close to your opponent so that you will not be weakened and then lose all will to go on fighting.

All these situations are all capable of making one lose their patience and cool if not properly managed. Another situation is when there is crisis. Imagine having some really deep family issues and a lot seems to be happening all at the same time.

Getting involved in them full force is not going to do much. Instead, understand the situation first, so that you can know what angle to come in from. Relax and do not allow it to overwhelm you.

Take it one at a time. You obviously cannot solve the entire problem at once. So instead of healing it on your head, dissect the entire issue and then pick it out one by one, layer by layer. By the time you are done, you will realize that it may not be so complex after all.

The important point to take sway with at all times is that situations like this will always happen. What matters is the attitude we bring to it. This is what will determine if we see going to solve or probably dwell in it and let it fester.

For more inspirational articles, visit Motivation Column.



  1. iron bar

    April 2, 2019 at 10:51 AM

    This is applicable to oyinbos..naija exams are tough and cheats are even tougher.back in the day,if u dont read just prepare for carry over.There is no magic,seats are spaced out,the invigilator will be chewing garlic and alligator pepper making it hard to fall asleep.They will look into your eyes,and can even make u forget what u read a day before.This digital face,they hack through wifi,do this and that.parents pay thru back door for their lazy wards to pass.
    it was tough but it all paid out well.follow your school curriculum from day one and u will never go wrong.

  2. Rosy

    April 9, 2019 at 3:14 PM

    Good one. I love this site. It is very educating. Naijagists keep it up.

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