Exam stress affects most students in different ways. It’s essential to manage this stress and find small ways to help yourself. For a few students, exams can become easy; revising is second nature to them, and they can pass with their eyes closed. But for many others, sweaty palms and racing hearts (Anxiety) are just part of the territory, and nothing is more impossible than sitting down and making amends. Here are some helpful tips to help relieve stress and make sure you make it through exam season.
- Make a timetable: This will reduce chaos and make you feel organized. The more organized you are, the more calm and prepared you will feel for the exams and alleviate exam stress.
- Rest up, forget exams: On the timetable, ensure to allocate time to rest. Allow time away from revision, and do something fun and unrelated. Go to dinner with friends, go to the cinema, attend a concert, or music, play an instrument, walk, go jogging, watch a movie, watch TV, or listen to a podcast or comedy that makes you laugh. Time from the books will allow you to feel refreshed and relaxed. Keep everything on schedule. Yes, exams are essential. But you are more than your exam results.
- Exercise and get out: One of the most frustrating things about exam season is that it seems to be happening even when the sun is out. Use it to your advantage and get out for a walk, run, or hit the gym or pool. In addition to keeping you healthy, exercise can improve your mood and help you be more productive while studying and reduce exam stress.
- Don’t listen to others: While it’s helpful to discuss topics with other students and review them together often, try not to compare other people’s revisions with your own. Chances are you’re doing great, but listening to others talk about what they’ve learned could stress you out and make you feel like you’re not making as much progress as they are. Also, if they have stressed themselves, it can affect you, and other people’s stress is not what you need right now.
- Talk to someone: Try talking to someone. Your university or school should have a service where you can talk to people about your concerns and should be able to offer more advice on how to deal with them. If there seems to be a step too significant, open up with a family member or friend about the pressures you are feeling. Exam stress is not a new thing and you will be surprised to know that you are not alone in feeling this way.
- Speak to student support: Many universities have a lot of support in place, but you won’t know until you speak to someone, e.g., Extenuating circumstances – where you may get extra time to submit assignments or exams, book 1:1 study workshops on how to structure assignments, a lot of practical support
- Get Plenty of Sleep: Pulling all-nighters to revise is not a good idea; it will mess up your sleep routine, leaving you so tired and drained and unlikely to retain as much information as you would if you’d had a good night’s rest. A good rest will improve the exam stress.
- Be flexible: While having a revision schedule is good, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to it. If you accidentally oversleep, don’t write down the days off. Be kind to yourself.
- Eat well: Cook something; as a bonus, try to cook something healthy. You cannot nourish your mind well if you do not nourish your body well.
- Avoid considering: You don’t need to know how the other person behaved in the exam/ assignment, this will only increase exam stress. You’ve done your best; you can’t go back and change your answers, so the minute you step out of the exam room, you can focus on your next test.
- Self-care: Drink herbal tea or hot chocolate. It is well reported that hot drinks are known to ease the soul (avoiding too much caffeine!). A warm bath can help reduce stress and soothing, relaxing music with scented candles.
More tips for Assignment stress:
- Understand the question: Assignment stress often comes from not understanding the question or knowing how to solve the problem. Do not be afraid to ask questions and clarify what you need to do. Whether it is a question of how to solve a problem or how complex it is, no question is a dumb question. Try asking your lecturers to request a 1:1 to get more understanding; remember, they will probably be the ones marking it, so you will understand what answers they are looking for.
- Good listening: Listen to your lecturers and take notes while discussing the assignment. It sounds simple, but it is something that many students struggle with. Write down the terms and essential ideas in class. It helps you organize your thoughts and remember important information, making it more accessible.
- Revision: Refresh your memory regularly every afternoon, or at least every other day, and review what you have learned from the previous lessons. If you lack the basic knowledge to tackle more complex topics, revisiting them more often will help build your confidence in those areas.
- Avoid procrastination: Procrastination can also significantly contribute to assignment stress. You’d be surprised how much time you can waste on to-do lists until you check your Twitter or Instagram page or listen to your favorite song! Let this be your reward when your work is done.
- Have a healthy snack.: There is a proven link between what we eat and how our brains work. Memory, learning, and emotional state are affected by what we put in our bodies, and to function at our best; we need a healthy diet.
Trying any of these tips above may help you to manage exam stress and assignment stress. Try all and see what works best for you. Remember your University is aware and there is a lot of support available. Reach out to someone and don’t suffer in silence.