We know the feeling. As you take your seat in the exam hall, your heart begins to thump, your stomach is turning knots, and your palms begin to sweat. You’re waiting for those crucial words: ‘You may now begin.’
Exam season is naturally a stressful time for any university student but worry no more! Here are ten top tips to make sure you get a handle on your stress, and survive the dreaded exam season:
- Being stressed is completely normal: Exams seem to be the last legal form of torture, so it’s natural that you are worried about them. However, a bit of stress does have its perks. It can help you finish tasks more efficiently, and it can even boost your memory skills. Remember, not all stress is bad stress.
- Balance your time: If you’re revising 24/7 then you’re either superhuman and love studying (?) or you’re doing something wrong. Make sure you take regular breaks and have time away from your work. Get up and do some exercise or meet a friend for coffee. It’s important to give your brain a rest.
- Tell someone how you’re feeling: If the stress is getting the better of you, don’t suffer alone. Confide in a fellow peer or visit the Health and Wellbeing Centre for some advice and support. When it comes to exams, everyone is in the same boat.
- Make the most of your lecturers: It can be daunting to see your lecturer one-to-one, but if you really don’t understand something, then there is no one better to ask! Or if you’d prefer, see if there is anyone else in your department that can assist you; they all want to help.
- Find a revision technique that works for you: Find out if you work better with tables or mind maps, reading over notes or testing yourself with flashcards. There are tons of revisions methods out there, so if you’re struggling why not give them all a try?
- Try to get enough sleep: I know that, as students, it’s rare to get the required 8 hours of sleep at night, especially in the lead up to exams. However, try to get yourself into a healthy routine. Force yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’s going to be painful, but when exam day rolls around you’ll thank us.
- Don’t get distracted: Focusing is key. If you find that you can’t work at home, then go to the library and revise there. If you find yourself checking social media every five minutes then put your phone away in a drawer; out of sight, out of mind.
- Set realistic goals and start revision early: Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not Superman or Wonder Woman. It is practically impossible to cover a whole semester of work in a couple of days. Start revising weeks up to the exam day. That way you’ll give yourself more than enough time to read over the material – leaving you feeling prepped and ready for exam day.
- You don’t have to do it alone: Revising can be a lonely process, so why not set up a study group? Bring along some tasty snacks and test each other on your knowledge. Revision doesn’t have to be a tedious task!
- Keep it in perspective: At university it’s so easy to live inside your little revision bubble. Remember that there is life after exams. You can only try your best, and it’s important not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
So here are ten tips and tricks for you to beat exam stress. On exam day, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Read through everything carefully, and answer as best as you can, you can remember more than you think! Best of luck!
Text by Lois Bronze
Picture research by Donna Darafshian; featured image from Pinterest.