by Natalie Froome
Exam season is upon us, which means only one thing: stress levels go through the roof. The library is constantly packed, filled with seat-hoggers and silent-floor-talkers. Many students struggle in these times, so along with knowing that you’re not alone, here are some tips to combat exam stress:
1. TAKE A BREAK
If you’re revising 24/7 most of the information you’re reading won’t be going into your brain. Chunk up your revision and break it down by topic, taking regular breaks in-between sections. This will make it seem far more manageable.
2. GET SOME EXCERSISE!
Those breaks we were just talking about? Don’t just go on to Netflix or browse Facebook for half an hour – get up and get walking. The lake takes around 30 mins-1hr to walk around and the scenery and nature you’ll see on the way is a great way to let your mind wander and relax. Exercising releases feel-good chemicals and can help burn off the extra calories from all those revision snacks.
3. EAT WELL
It’s so easy to eat crap in exam season. Ready meals, rustlers and pot noodles seem to be so much more tempting when you’re running short on time. Eating badly, however, will make you feel bad. Grease and fat are not conducive to heavy brain-work and can make you feel sluggish. Sugar can also give you highs and lows, leading to mood swings and a lack of focus. Take mums advice and eat your vegetables, making sure you get three balanced meals a day. Hydration is also really important for concentration, particularly if the weather is hot.
4. KEEP IN TOUCH
Don’t shut yourself away. Humans are social by nature; we need to interact. If you’ve got a lot to revise it can be tempting to live glued to your laptop or notebooks, emerging only for toilet breaks and the odd bit of sleep. This isolation will make you feel like crap. 0/10 do not recommend. Talking to people face-to-face and meeting for shared revision breaks with friends can be a great mood-booster.
5. DON’T GET PUT OFF BY OTHERS
Keeping in touch with your friends is so important, but make sure they don’t affect how you feel about your own chances. There will always be those people who boast about revising 10 hrs a day, or the snakes who claim to have done nothing then show up to the exam with a wedge of colour coded notes. Ignore these people! They’re probably feeling just as anxious as you. Comparing yourself to others is never helpful and neither is competing. Focus on what you’re doing.
If the stress of exams is getting too much and affecting your everyday life, then it may be worth seeing your academic advisor for help. The learning support team at the Dean of Students are also a resource that can be used. They have loads of useful information sheets on time management and referencing (for example.) Whatever you do, just remember, you’re not on your own.
(photo courtesy of Léa Dubedout at https://unsplash.com/@leadbt)