The leadup to exams: 5 tips to deal with exam stress
What comes to mind when we say the word ‘summer’? Going out with friends? Enjoying some time in the sunshine? Relaxing holidays both in the UK and abroad? Or a mix of all of these? The COVID-19 pandemic robbed us all of a true summer last year, and we’re sure everyone is keen to make up for the lost fun this year.
Unfortunately for university students, summer can often be a time of stress and hardship, involving countless hours of revision. This may be especially demotivating this year as the restrictions begin to ease.
Make sure you are taking extra care of yourself this year and giving enough time to other aspects of your life. Taking regular, refreshing breaks can also make revision more productive. Use the exam stress to motivate you but try not to let it overwhelm you and adversely impact on your health and relationships. This can be a difficult balance to make.
To help you cope with the leadup to exams, here are 5 tips to deal with exam stress:
1) Stay organised and have a plan: “Naag devta mera physics bacha lena ... roz ek liter doodh bhijwaonga” - 3 Idiots
One of the best ways to get organised is to have a planner or calendar - some place where you can write out the things you have to cover. Use your learning objectives to guide you, then tick off the ones you have completed. This will help keep you on track and it is very satisfying ticking off points.Making a schedule to complete a certain amount of questions or flash cards a day will also help. Just a few hours of efficient work a day can make a huge difference so keep at it!
2) Make sure you eat well and get enough exercise: “Exam ke sawaal ka jawab toh har koi deta hai ... lekin asli hero woh hai joh zindagi ke jawab de” - Dangerous Khiladi
As the old saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’, and eating junk food all day is likely to make you feel rubbish. While it can be time consuming to cook at home, replacing takeaway meals with quick meal-preps can make you feel less tired and more motivated throughout the day. Additionally, try to make sure you are drinking enough water during revision, as the summer heat can make you dehydrated very quickly. On to exercise - the closure of gyms has led to everyone perfecting their home workouts. If you have got into a routine of doing these, make sure you continue. Do not think of it as time wasted where you should be studying - instead look at it as a nice break which can help you remain motivated! If workouts aren’t your thing, maybe consider going for a walk. 10 minutes of fresh air is always a good idea - a good way to get moving as well as a change of scenery from your desk!
3) Make some post-exam plans: “Picture abhi baaki hai meri dost” - Om Shaanti Om
Having things to look forward to after exams can act as a great motivator - a little something to work towards! Whether it be a get-away with friends and family, garden parties and barbeques, or even just some free time to get through some books you’ve been waiting to read - anything works!
4) Don’t do it alone: “Dost fail ho jaye toh dukh hota hai ... lekin dost first aa jaye toh zyada dukh hota hai” - 3 Idiots
Revising with friends and other people on your course can be a good way to get out of the house and break the monotony of revision. It’s also a good way to keep motivated - sometimes seeing someone else working can give you that little push to carry on with your own to-do list. It can help reduce stress levels by suffering working together! Furthermore, if chatting through different things helps you to revise then this can be a really good way to switch up revision techniques. Whilst you may be tired of zoom calls by now, revising together over video calls can be a nice way of working with other people whilst still in the comfort of your own study space. Why not come along to one of our BIMA ‘Study with me’ sessions!? (see our socials for more info!)
5) Keep everything in perspective: “Exam toh bahut hote hai, baap mostly ek hi hota hai” - 3 Idiots
Whilst it has been said that: “Jab kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh phir puri kainaat tumhe us cheez ke milane ki koshish mein lag jati hai" (Om Shaanti Om) it is important to not lose focus of the bigger picture. The ‘revision mindset’ can sometimes make us stressed or we can start to worry a lot about upcoming exams and deadlines. However, it is important to take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Something that helps some of us is to think ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ - whilst it can feel like one bad grade is the end of the world, it’s not! Remember that worrying will not change the outcome. The best thing to do is take a step back, figure out what is in your control and what steps you can take to continue working towards your end goal, and just keep going!
We hope that some of these tips will come in useful when you start revising. Let us know if you have any other tips - feel free to share them below! Remember that this is just another step towards achieving your goals - you got this!
Good luck from everyone at BIMA! :)