tips to help you cope with exam stress
tips to help you cope with exam stress
However, sometimes, dealing with stress (especially during exam season) can be a difficult thing to do. And, with an estimated 20-50% annual increase in university students seeking help for studies-related mental health issues, it’s clear that we’re under more pressure than ever before. So, here to your rescue are seven tips to help you through stressful exam stress.
1. Remember to breathe
Setting aside a couple of minutes every day to practice mindfulness techniques, such as breathing exercises or UCL’s 10 Minute Mind, helps you to calm down your body’s stress response and shift your attention back to the present moment. In turn, this gives you time to rationally think through the anxieties you have, rid yourself of unhelpful thought patterns, and enables you to deal with a large number of exams and begin more effective revision.
2. Eat, sleep and exercise well
Pulling all-nighters, surviving on a poor diet, and getting minimal amounts of movement into your day can increase symptoms of anxiety. For your body’s best performance, make sure you’re getting 8/9 hours of sleep, enough slow-release carbs, less caffeine and more water, and at least half an hour of exercise per day.
3. Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals, whether you have several weeks, days, or hours before your exam, helps you to put everything into perspective. Acceptance of your situation and working within the realms of what you have maximizes your productivity without the risk of burning yourself out.
4. Don’t go it alone
In 2004, a research paper published in Linguistics and Education saw that revising with peers is an effective study technique as it allows individuals to better absorb their own notes. Furthermore, the emotional benefits of social support tend to include a better sense of confidence and autonomy.
5. Pace yourself through panic
Panicking before, during, or even after an exam is common among university students. If you experience it at any point, take six deep breaths, hydrate yourself, and then go back to the problem at hand, being sure to break it down into several, manageable chunks. Remember that there is usually a rational solution to every problem, even if you can’t see it at first glance.
6. Believe in yourself
When constantly faced with new challenges, we often forget to look back at how far we have come and how much we have already achieved. Given that you have prepared well, there should be no reason for you to worry. Therefore, when experiencing a negative thought, try to replace it with a positive one. For example, instead of thinking ‘If I don’t get at least a 2:1, I am a failure’, think ‘Whatever I get, I will be proud of myself and value how much I have already achieved. You can do this!
7. If you feel like you are struggling, talk to someone
Asking for help is never shameful. In the most extreme cases, it can help save a life. When struggling, talk to friends, family, or your personal tutor about how you are feeling. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to seek professional help and support. Read more about Cope With Stress During Exam Days.
Working towards exams can create feelings of worry and be under pressure, especially at university where you’re aiming for a degree. However, there is a range of things that you can do to help deal with the stress that you might be feeling…
Prioritize your time when revising
Prioritizing your time, subjects and workload can make a big difference and help to reduce your anxiety levels. You’ll be able to ensure that the really important stuff is covered – and at the right time.
Make a table with the dates of each exam and how many topics need to be covered for each. This will give you a clear idea of how much time you need to dedicate to each exam topic and when you need to start revising.
As you progress through your revision, tick off the topics that you’ve completed. This will give you a small sense of achievement, knowing that you’re making progress,
Begin from within
“You are what you eat”, or so the saying says. But basically, if you’re eating rubbish, you’re going to feel like rubbish. Replace those takeaways and ready meals with wholesome, home-cooked food. Starchy carbs like potatoes, white pasta, and bread can make you feel tired and with tiredness comes stress. Instead try healthier alternatives such as sweet potatoes, brown pasta, and whole wheat bread.
Give your brain an extra boost by eating foods that can help boost your memory, concentration, and general brain functions. Food such as oily fish, nuts, tomatoes, green leaves, and broccoli are just some of the foods shown to help your grey matter. As well food and drink are also important to keep healthy and stress-free; Try to drink at least a liter bottle whilst revising as this will keep you hydrated and focused.
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