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How to Survive Exam Season Stress

How to Survive Exam Season Stress main image

By Emily Valentine

Your gloriously long student summer holiday is just around the corner, but before you can relax you’re going to need to get through the dreaded exam season. 

If the thought of coursework deadlines and test papers sets your heart racing and anxiety levels rising then you’re definitely not alone.  But there are plenty of things you can do to help you through to the other side whilst avoiding a meltdown. 

Favor short, intense periods of revision, rather than spending all day in the library


Sometimes it's easier said than done, but keeping organized and starting your exam prep early can really help to keep your nerves under control.  Procrastination is many people’s favorite pastime, but now is the time to force yourself into a routine, even if it means watching fewer episodes of House of Cards than you’d like. 

Figure out a schedule of things you need to do, and spread things out so they feel more manageable. Many people find short sharp bursts of work are more productive than trying to cram eight hours of revision into one day.

Decide upon milestones and treat yourself when you reach them


It's not all about work, work, work though.  Everyone needs a break, and once you’ve got yourself organized, you can schedule in breaks for fun and relaxation. Make these target-oriented, that way you’ll keep your discipline and not slip back into endless procrastinating. You’ll find you maintain your concentration for longer when you’ve got something to look forward to, even if it’s just a walk in the park or reading your favorite book.

Practice meditation and other relaxation techniques


There are plenty of things you can do to de-stress, and most of them are free. It’s common sense, but getting a good night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water, doing some physical exercise and eating well all contribute to a balanced mental state. If you’re living off energy drinks and staying up all night studying, you may find yourself heading for a burnout. 

Practicing calming activities such as yoga or practicing meditation can also help to focus your mind. Again, no need to splash the cash and join an expensive group class (unless you want to of course) as there are a whole range of apps and online resources you can use.

Don’t be intimidated by other people’s revision styles


We all have our own preferred ways of revising, and what works for one person doesn’t always work well for others. While your mates might enjoy studying in a large group in the library, don’t feel like you must join them if that doesn’t work for you.

You might also find you work better at certain times of the day (or night). If that’s the case then listen to your instincts and study when you feel most alert. If you follow a few basic guidelines, you’ll find you stay more focused during your revision sessions.

Use your tutors for advice and support


If you’re finding yourself completely overwhelmed with work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your tutors should be able to offer extra assistance, particularly if there’s any particular topics you’re finding confusing or projects you’re struggling with. You never know, they might even extend your deadline.

Your university should also have a dedicated counseling service you can go to for further help if you’re suffering with stress or anxiety. Being a student can be tough at times, and your uni has a duty of care to support you through your studies, so take advantage of any help you can get, and try not to struggle in silence.

Emily Valentine writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specializes in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse their graduate jobs, visit their website.

Lead image: Wikimedia Commons

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fun and clear to read! the thought of coursework deadlines and test papers really sets my heart racing. This means a lot to me!

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