7th March 2019

Top Tips: coping with exam stress

I hate exams just as much as the next person and when I think back on my time at university all I see is the terrible time I had trying to cope with the stress of it all. Exam season for me got really bad – so much so my body would shut down and I’d get really sick if I was stressed, couple that with the fact my OCD was at an all time high – I mean if I made one mistake I’d rip up the page and start all over again [yes, even if it meant rewriting an entire page of A4 notes].

SO! To keep you all from crying into a Ben and Jerrys or procrastinating like a pro by watching an entire series on Netflix.. I wanted to share my top tips to overcoming stress during exam season and what I found most useful.

sleep

This gets a big thumbs up from me. Do not under any circumstances sacrifice your sleep just because you want to get in some more revision. I learnt this the hard way.. It will just stress you out more. you’re tired (or in my case grouchy and hangry 99% of the time), feeling rundown and running on empty. Be sure to get at least 8 hours a night – trust me, you’ll thank me later.

relax, don’t do it..

If you got that reference, I applaud you and you are now my favourite person in the world!

I know it’s easier said than done but there is so much you can do. My favourite way to block myself off from exams or revision was to run a steaming hot bath and listen to a podcast. Taking mini breaks allowed me to refocus the brain and attack things with a clear head.

tidy desk, tidy mind

Fun fact: apparently it’s scientifically proven that your brain works better in a decluttered space. Don’t ask me how.. it just is OK? Organising the space around you and being in a clean, calm environment somehow, unconsciously, sets your mind at ease ready for the task ahead.

categories are your best friend

This one helped me a ton. And I mean.. A TON. Dividing out my main topics or chapters into smaller sections allowed me to focus on what I needed to instead of overwhelming myself with a shitload of information I was never gonna learn in one. It’s great for the stress levels – for me mainly because it made me forget how much I actually had to revise!

being perfect isn’t achievable

There comes a time when you just have to accept what will be, will be. I went into my MA thinking, yes you did it guuurl, got a first in your undergrad so you will fly by on this masters.

LOL!! How wrong was I.. [it’s kinda embarrassing]

Trying to make sure you’re at the top of your game or achieving everything first time round can be the biggest stress of all – this goes for pretty much everything at life if I’m honest. It’s ok to accept you won’t learn everything or you won’t have prepared for certain questions but that’s life. Sounds cliche, but when it comes to exams, you do really have to expect the unexpected. Learn as much as you can – more often than not it will all relate to something you haven’t necessarily focused on or missed.

if you have any tips or tricks to overcoming exam stress or stress in general, drop a comment on this post – I’d love to hear them!

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