Exam season has arrived and we know this is a very busy time for many of you with revision, exams and coursework deadlines. It’s completely normal to feel stressed and anxious around this time.

If you’re feeling worried about impending exams and assignments, please know that you are not alone. Feeling some stress and worry around this time is natural – however it’s important not to become overwhelmed with these feelings. Taking care of yourself and paying close attention to your physical and mental health is really important and will help you to do your best in your upcoming assessments.

Look after your health

Focusing on maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing will help you to study more effectively and keep your stress levels down in the midst of exams. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep can make a big difference to your stress levels and your ability to focus. Try to ensure that you’re getting a good amount of sleep each night. Having a regular night-time routine may help you to wind down and prepare your mind for sleep, and avoiding distractions like your phone and computer before bed will help you to relax.

If possible, separate your working space from the place where you rest and sleep. If you find that you’re struggling to fall asleep in the evenings, try to avoid studying in your bedroom. This will help your mind to associate that space with rest rather than work.

  • Eat well and often

When you’re stressed and have a busy schedule to keep it can be more difficult than usual to eat regular, balanced meals. You may find yourself skipping meals altogether or reaching for quick sugar and caffeine fixes to get you through the day, but this can really affect your ability to concentrate and study effectively. Make sure that you eat often throughout the day and choose foods with a high nutritional value. For tips on eating well on a budget, take a look at our Student Stories blog.

Staying hydrated will also help you to feel energised and keep your concentration levels up, so drink plenty of water throughout the day – especially as the weather gets warmer.

  • Stay active

Regular exercise can have a hugely positive effect on your physical and mental health. It also gives you a reason to take a much-needed break from revision and coursework. You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership to reap the benefits. Go for a run or brisk walk by yourself or with a friend to get your blood pumping. The most important thing is finding something that you enjoy and that works for you.

Break up your study sessions

Try to establish a balance between work and rest, and treat both with equal importance. When you have a lot of work to do and are feeling anxious about it, it can be tempting to shut yourself away in the Library and work for hours without a break – but this is likely to do more harm than good. Getting out for a walk between revision sessions can be a simple and effective way to give yourself a mental break and you’ll return to your work with more energy. The Harris Garden on Whiteknights campus is an ideal place to enjoy some fresh air and shift your focus away from you studies for a little while.

Support from RUSU

  • RUSU says Revise – RUSU will be running revision sessions with the Library’s Study Advisers and providing extra study space throughout the exam season from 09:00-17:00 on selected days each week. To find out more and see a full timetable, visit their webpage.
  • RUSU says Relax – RUSU are here to help you get through exam season by running a series of activities and events to help you relax and have fun during the exam period. Click here to see the full list of events, including yoga classes, mindfulness walks, art therapy sessions and even a petting zoo.

Consult the professionals

Having a lot of work to do in a short space of time can lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, so it’s important to remember that there are plenty of resources available that can help relieve some of the pressure.

  • The Study Advice team works with students at all levels of academic study and can help you to develop effective study practices and make studying less stressful. You can book free one-to-one advice sessions with a professional Study Adviser, take advantage of their expert study guides and video tutorials, and attend group sessions to get advice on making the most of your revision time and achieving your study goals.
  • Maths Support is a drop-in service available to help you with any maths you may be struggling with. The team is made up of experienced mathematicians who are there to help you in a friendly and supportive environment. They also have a range of worksheets and video tutorials designed to help you practice your mathematical skills.
  • Your subject Liaison Librarian can help you make effective use of all the resources that the Library has to offer. They can provide individual help with research and guide you to the most relevant resources.
  • Our free Life Tools talks continue into the summer term and focus on a range of exam-related topics such as minimising stress and improving your concentration.

Share your concerns

Sometimes when you’re feeling under pressure it can be really helpful to talk to someone about what’s worrying you. This could be a friend, a family member or someone else on your course. You can also speak to a member of the Student Welfare Team if you’re feeling particularly stressed and would like to speak to someone about it. Email the team at studentwelfare@reading.ac.uk or drop into the Carrington building Monday-Friday from 10:00-16:00.

As your key point of contact for your academic development, your Academic Tutor will be able to help you address any concerns you may have regarding your coursework and exam preparation.

The end is in sight!

Remember that it in a few weeks’ time it will all be over and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your summer. We wish you the very best of luck with your exams and assignments and encourage you to make use of the support available as and when you need it.