Exam time a stressful time for students of all levels, but there are a few things you can do before you start studying to help you feel overwhelmed. These six tips will help you avoid stress so you can ace your exams.
Learn Your Learning Style
Everyone studies in a different way and what works for your friend might not work for you. A great way to reduce your exam anxiety is to revise in a way that’s suited to how you learn. Some people study most effectively in groups where they can talk through the material together and quiz each other. Some people get anxious when studying with other people and prefer to review the course material on their own. There are endless ways to study including flashcards, rewatching lectures, and doing practice tests. Once you’ve figured out what techniques are most effective for you, stick with them so you can use your time efficiently.
Prioritize Your Time
Before exam period starts, determine what you need to review for each exam and figure out how early you need to start revising to cover everything. Then make yourself a study schedule, breaking down the topic you want to study day by day. Be realistic about how much you can study each day when allocating your time. Plan to review the harder topics early on so you can devote more time to them. Work through your schedule checking off topics as you master them. Having a study plan will make all the material you have to review seem more manageable and ensure you don’t forget to review a crucial topic.
When making your study schedule don't forget to factor in some time for breaks. It’s very difficult to sustain your concentration for hours at a time so when you find your mind wandering it’s probably a sign you need a short break. Try to take a 10-minute break after every hour of studying. Use these breaks as an opportunity to get away from your desk and stretch your legs.
The only thing more stressful than writing an exam is writing an exam when you’re sick. While you can’t protect yourself from every germ out there, there are some easy things you can do to increase your chances of staying healthy during the exam period. These include eating healthy and limiting your caffeine intake. Sugary snacks will give you a quick burst of energy, but it won’t last the day. Same with the caffeine, too much will only add to your feelings of anxiety. Plus it will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep!
Taking time out from studying to exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing, but there’s a reason exercise is a classic stress reliever. Physical activity is a great way to clear your mind and boost your mood. It’s also another important way to keep yourself healthy during exam time. After just 20 minutes of exercise, you can hit the books with renewed focus.
Talk to Someone
There’s no prize for suffering through exam stress alone. Talking to a friend, significant other, family member, or advisor when you’re feeling really worried can be a huge help. In addition to support, they might also be able to offer study strategies or practical advice to help you feel more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to speak to a professional or the mental health services at your university if you are concerned about your mental health during exam season or at any point in the year.