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Exam stress and how to cope with it

09 June 2022

students doing yoga

If you’re in the middle of exams, it’s completely natural to be concerned about them, especially if you feel under pressure from lecturers or family.

Exam stress might make you feel anxious or depressed and may cause you to forget things, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Here’s our top tips on how to cope:

Addressing negative thoughts

Negative thoughts will make you more anxious. When you start panicking – take a few deep breaths and say to yourself: “Whatever I get, I’ll be proud of myself and appreciate how much I’ve already accomplished.”

Parents’ pressure

If the people around you (your parents or relatives) are putting pressure on you, it might help to tell them what you believe you are capable of doing and to let them know that your expectations differ from theirs.

Mental Fatigue

Excessive workloads, stress, a lack of sleep, and a poor diet can all cause mental fatigue. To help you can:

– Make sure you make space to unwind between exams and any last minute cramming – get a great amount of sleep, try to meditate or do yoga, listen to music or go for a walk. Being stressed and tired make us concentrate less and, as a result, we cannot memorise important information.

– Concentrate on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others  Not everyone learns or tackles exams in the same way: do you prefer to read, make notes, create diagrams? Do whatever works best for you.

–  Exercise – Physical activity causes the production of proteins in the brain that can improve your memory. Also, just 20 minutes of exercise before studying/an exam will improve your concentration.

– Eat a well-balanced diet – your diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, grains, and nuts that are great for your brain and energy levels.

Last-minute revision tips:

You may feel you want to revise up to the last moment. If so:

–        Prepare summaries (mind maps or one-page bullet-pointed notes of each topic) – Such summaries will enable you to do a quick review of most important information, very last minute.

–        Focus on your weak spots – Learn what you don’t know yet. Take a practice exam or answer a few mock-exam questions to see how you score. Determine your areas of weakness and cram them.

–       Use flashcards – Put questions on one side and answers on the other. They help you to memorise facts quickly and create stronger connections in your memory.

–       Do not learn anything new the night before the exam – Overloading yourself with new information can be harmful. It’s much better to take a rest and wake up feeling ready to do your best.

The CODE Team wishes you lots of luck on the upcoming final exams. Score well and don’t let your nerves get the best of you! Fingers crossed!