Exam season is upon us – and this can cause major stress for many students across the country. No matter whether you are in secondary school, further education or higher education, it is perfectly normal to feel stressed and anxious about exams and the future. Fresh Student Living is here to reveal some top tips for dealing with exam stress.
Top tips for handling exam pressure and stress
- Breathe – Setting aside time every day to carry out breathing exercises or meditation helps to calm down your body’s stress response and shift your attention back to the present moment. In turn, this gives you time to think rationally about the anxieties you are having, get rid of unhelpful thought patterns and helps you to mentally deal with the stress of having multiple exams and support you in more effective revision for them.
- Eating, Sleeping and Exercising – Pulling all-nighters, Living off of takeaways and junkfood, and sitting at a desk all day meaning minimal amounts of movement can all increase symptoms of stress and anxiety. To ensure your body is performing at its best, make sure you’re getting 8-9 hours of sleep, enough slow-release carbs and foods that are nutritional, less caffeine and more water, and at least 30 mins of exercise per day.
- Don’t do it alone – It is actually cold, hard evidence that revising with friends is one of the most effective studying techniques as it allows each individual to absorb their own notes and talk through problems with one another. Furthermore, the emotional benefits of having a social support system help with confidence and creates a sense of autonomy.
- Believe in yourself – When facing new challenges, you may often forget to look back at how far you have come and how much you have achieved. Make sure that you are properly prepared for your exams and there should be no reason for you to worry. When a negative thought enters your mind, try to replace it with a more positive one. For example, instead of thinking ‘If I don’t get a 2:1, I have failed’, try to recognise that exams are tough, and whatever you get, you should be proud of yourself and how much you have already achieved’.
- Talk to someone – Asking for help should never feel embarrassing, whether it’s help with your work or help with how you are feeling mentally. When you are struggling – talk to your friends, family, or a teacher you trust about how you are feeling. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to seek professional help and support.