Dealing With Exam Stress

Remember to breathe

by | Last updated 25th Apr, 2017

End of year exams are make or break for your final marks. Stress levels are high and all distractions need to be shut out whilst you prepare. Well, this is the myth we keep telling ourselves to push ourselves through, but let’s take a step back to asses it all.

When you feel stressed, the nervous system releases adrenaline and cortisol, which forces your body to work harder. It tricks your mind into thinking you need less sleep, jumbles your thoughts and causes you to behave irrationally. So while you are pushing yourself to do the best you can possibly do, your body is under a silent battle causing you to be counterproductive. Stress and high marks aren’t a match made in heaven.

Learning how to wind down will help your mind and body function a lot easier and allow you to get the job done. Take a second away from your work to breathe and then read some of our quick-fire tips below.

7 tips

1. Breathe

This might come across a bit condescending, but take a deep breathe or two!

Releasing stress, frustration and negativity through breathing exercises really does go along way for your mind and body. Being able to breath will be the first step to calming your mind and give you a rational mind set.

2. Connect with others

When it’s crunch time, you may feel that you need to lock yourself away from the rest of the world and get on with your work. However, talking to others is a form of stress relief. Talking about your worries with a good friend or family member will help you to release the stress from your mind. They may also be in the same boat and need some TLC too.

3. Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter requires prioritising. Being able to prioritise work will give you a clear idea of what needs to be done, and will hopefully make a real difference. Draw up a timetable or a hierarchical list of what tasks are the most important.

This tip may not be the best stress reliever, but being able to know what needs to be done with a clear, straightforward mind set, will allow you to keep track of your work. It allows you to de-stress in the long term, as you know exactly what you have to do next.

4. Acceptance

Unfortunately, we’re not Superman, and as much as we try to do every single thing we can to prepare ourselves, sometimes we have to face the facts. If you’ve left revision until the last minute, you can’t get through all your notes or topics before the exam.

It’s a bad feeling to know you won’t be 110% ready, but trying to push yourselves and causing extra stress will not help at all. Face the facts and accept you can’t do it all. Truly accepting the facts and then moving forward with how to prioritise your time best will really relieve some stress off your backs and help you concentrate on what you can still do.

This all being said, don’t just go ‘Meh, I guess I will leave this topic.’ Make sure you have attempted to find a way, to do what you need to do, to get that first class degree.

5. Treat your mind and body

Exam time usually encourages you to order takeaways, causes you to sleep less and drink an excessive number of energy drinks. It may be last thing you want to allocate time for, but exercise has been proven to be an effective method to relieve stress. Try to do small workouts in between revision to release stress and to relax your mind.

If you’re not a big of running or the gym, take yoga classes or to regular stretches to help your body relax. Fresh fruit, nuts or even a home cooked meal will keep your body and mind healthy.

6. Break time

As much as we all try to cram every drop of information in as we can, don’t forget to take a break! Take a good lunch break and regular short breaks in between to give you much needed space. Soldiering on while you’re stressed or have a clouded head will be counter productive, so stepping back for a second to get a breather and some time away from the screen can really get your head back in gear.

7. Sleep time

Mastering an all-nighter is a key part of student lifestyle…wrong! Sleep deprivation is a large key to stress, irrational behaviour and low marks! Going without sleep raises your blood pressure, which in turn can lead to many health issues.

Doing an all-nighter doesn’t only raise blood pressure, but also causes weight gain, depression, cold and flu, and in extreme conditions, heart disease. Resting your body is important when dealing with stress! Don’t feel that you need to stay up all night to get ready for your final exams. You are doing more harm than good. So rest up, have a good night’s rest and return to work in the morning!

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1. Deep breathes. Always deep breathes. It fixes more than we realise.

2. Take a step back from your work when it feels like it is getting a bit to much. A small break can go a long way.

3. Don't forget you have freinds in the same position. Talk to them and have a laugh. Discussing other less stressful matters will relax you.

4. I personally prefer to stay up late. So with this is mind I re-arrange the standard timetable so that I wake up later in the day but use my time more efficiently, according to my needs.

Let us know your experiences below in the comments.

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