Published: 17 May 2018

Top 10 tips to manage exam stress

Lady holding balloons in the sunshine

Exams and assessments can be stressful so we’ve pulled together ten top tips to help you beat the exam anxiety:

1.       Plan your time

Set out a plan which tells you what topic you’re going to be revising each day and stick to it. It will set your mind at ease knowing that you’ve allocated enough time to cover all the topics that may come up in the exam.

2.       Prepare

As hard as you might try, an entire semester’s worth of notes can’t be crammed into a few days before the exam. You’ll feel less stressed if you start early and are more prepared for the exam.

3.       Set aside distractions

Turn off your phone, or even put it in a different room. Keep away from the TV and avoid getting side-tracked on the internet. Revision will take a lot longer and you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere if you keep getting distracted.

4.       Take breaks

Get up and stretch your legs, take in some fresh air or move to a different spot in the room – You’ll feel more focused when you sit back down to revise. Revision breaks can be as long or short as you need (e.g. revise for 30 minutes and break for 5 mins). Just stick to whatever works for you.

5.       Eat healthily

This is all about balance – Make sure you’re eating enough of the good foods and not too many of the bad ones. Also, drinking plenty of water will keep you feeling awake and refreshed. To find out about healthy eating visit the NHS Choices website.

6.       Reward yourself

It’s important to remember that revision doesn’t mean you have to totally stop doing the things you enjoy. Making some time to relax during your day will help you feel less anxious and can help to make your revision sessions more productive.

7.       Get enough sleep

This is important in the run up to your exams but especially the night before the exam. Getting enough sleep will make sure you’re at your best on the day of the exam. Just remember to set your alarm!

8.       Take regular exercise

This is a great way to combat stress; if your body feels better so will your mind. Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural pain killers – which in turn will encourage a better sleep pattern. Don’t forget that during the exam and assessment period, all students can use the University fitness suite, swimming pool, sports halls and squash courts for free!

9.       Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

If you feel like you’re suffering with more than a bout of exam nerves, make sure you get some help. A simple chat with a friend over a coffee, or over the telephone with family can help, but there are also lots of services which you can access at the University: Student Welfare, Advice and GuidanceDisability Advice and Guidance; Counselling ServiceMental Health Advisory ServiceBig White Wall and general exam enquiries.

10.   Stay positive

A little bit of self-belief goes a long way.  With the right frame of mind and a positive attitude you’ll achieve more than you thought possible.

Other useful links:

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