The exam period can be a very stressful time for students, but with some careful planning and proper preparation, you can keep the stress to a minimum and ace your exams.
Here are 10 Tips to Beat Exam Stress:
1. Make a revision timetable (and stick to it!)
Making a revision timetable is well worth the effort, and it could possibly be one of the best things you ever do to prepare for your exams.
Sometimes our brains struggle to remember even simple things, such as deadlines and mental revision schedules, so it’s much better to get it down on paper. Whether you write it by hand or type it up a revision timetable will take the weight off of your short term memory, and you can focus on revision sessions around assignments and exams.
2. Don’t stay stuck indoors
The sun is shining and the birds are singing so don’t torture yourself by spending all day cooped up indoors. Make sure you allot some time to get outdoors and get some fresh air. Taking time away for a few minutes or a few hours can really do you the world of good. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after some time outdoors.
3. Relax with friends or family
Deadlines don’t mean you can’t have a life! As well as making the time to get outside you should also plan plenty of downtime to socialise with your friends and family.
It’s easy to just tell everyone you’re busy, but an evening at the cinema or going shopping with your friends could really improve the quality of your revision. Good time management (see our point about a revision schedule) will help you be able to revise and socialise.
4. Know what you need to do
One of the biggest sources of exam stress is not knowing what you’ll be asked to do during the exam. The best thing to do is ASK.
It’s perfectly okay to ask for help and your teachers will be happy to help where they can. They won’t think you’re stupid or silly, and asking for clarification will show you’re an enthusiastic and passionate student.
5. Get moving
If you’re planning time to spend outside then consider combining that with some exercise and socialising. Exercise is proven to be one of the best stress busting activities.
Join a running club or exercise class – it might be time to try something you’ve never done before. You could even just go walking with a friend if organised exercise isn’t really your thing. Make regular plans to exercise and you’ll help develop your time management skills, as well as keeping your mind and body healthy.
6. Ditch the caffeine
Energy drinks are a student favourite, but replacing that energy drink with a big bottle of water will give you more sustainable energy and hydration, plus you’ll avoid the dreaded caffeine and sugar crashes. Also make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you don’t need energy drinks to keep you awake.
7. Learn to say no
Although it’s important to take time out and socialise, it’s also important to learn when to say no. The night before a coursework deadline or exam is not the time to be out and about with your friends. Save the partying for after your exam when you can afford to spend the next day doing nothing.
8. GET SOME SLEEP
We cannot say enough how important sleep is!
Your memory needs to be working at its peak performance to be at the top of your game for coursework and exams, so you need to be aiming for around 8 hours of sleep. Less than that and your stress levels will skyrocket. More sleep will also mean less need for caffeine (see our point about ditching the caffeine).
9. Don’t revise for hours
You won’t remember everything if you try to revise for hours on end, so take a 10 minute break every 50 minutes to refresh your brain.
This technique is used a lot by business professionals who have a “work smarter, not harder” approach. You’ll find you remember more and feel better about revision knowing when your breaks are going to be.
10. Work to your deadlines
It can seem like everything may seem like it’s due all at once but by keeping a diary and updated calendar you can keep track of deadlines. When you’re making your revision schedule, make a note of the deadlines you need to work to. Then you can prioritise which subjects need to be revised first.