Dealing with exam stress

As the exam season is approaching, it’s important to remember to look after yourself. Here are some top tips in making sure you’re prepared and in the best frame of mind to tackle your exams:

Brain food

No great amount of revision or exam preparation can be done on an empty stomach, so it’s really important that you keep your energy up and stay hydrated. By sticking to three healthy meals a day your brain will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time and you’ll be more productive with your revision. A variety of home cooked meals made from scratch are always  best (see our Student Stories Blog for many student-friendly healthy recipes) and you can always batch cook your favourite meals and freeze them for when you don’t have the time to cook. However, the best part of revision is undoubtedly the revision snacks. Ice cream, crisps and chocolate are great for a quick energy boost when you’re struggling to concentrate; but you could swap these for something like blueberries which will give you an energy boost as well as provide you with vital vitamins and nutrients to equip yourself to tackle exam revision, keeping energy levels up and stress levels down.


Have a manageable and realistic plan

Many students start revising by creating a revision plan or timetable. Whilst this is a good idea, it must be realistic and tailored to your study habits. For example, if you know that you’re not a morning person then don’t schedule your revision to start at the crack of dawn, as you will be likely to want to sleep in and miss them. Not sticking to a revision timetable can make you feel stressed and unmotivated, so it’s important that it’s as achievable as possible. Keeping track with your revision plan is a great motivator so by scheduling in lots of short breaks regularly you won’t feel so tired and pressured to keep working.


Keep in touch with friends

Revision is typically seen as a solitary activity with just you reading, writing and remembering all your notes from the year, however this can be very draining and can make you feel lonely. It’s important that when you do take your revision breaks that you see your friends and family and talk about things other than your studies. It’s important that your mind has a break away from concentrating on your studies and refreshes ready for your next study session. In addition, spending time talking to others in study breaks, rather than watching TV etc, is a great way of resting tired eyes from staring at too many screens. Alternatively, friends and family can help with your exam revision and make studying more fun. If you and your friends are revising for the same exam, create a study group and then you can socialise and study at the same time!


Ask for help

Whilst revising for exams, you’ll be looking back at your notes from across the year or term. Often it can be difficult to make sense of them or even remember what your lecturer was talking about if they were written some time ago. The important thing to remember is if you get stuck – ask for help. Don’t simply gloss over it and hope that it won’t come up in the exam as this will only cause you more stress. Asking for help can simply be just sending a quick email to your lecturer or tutor, or even asking a friend. You could also sign up to a study help workshop if there is something in particular that you need help with. It is far easier and less stressful to ask for help when you want it, not as a last resort when you become stressed and desperately need it. Take a look at our Life Tools programme for advice on mindfulness, procrastination, increasing concentration and other useful study related workshops.

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