A few month ago, one of my best friends Ruby requested that I did a post on exam stress, so I had it in my plan to do around this time of year… I can’t believe how fast this year is going already and that exam season is already here! Exam season is right around the corner and some of you are maybe even in it right now, so I thought to offer some of my tips and tricks on how to cope with exam stress, specifically at this time of year. Exam season is never a good time of year, filled with exam stress and nerves, but even if you apply one of my tips and tricks you might be able to relieve some of the exam stress and make this time of year slightly easier. These are tips that I used in my A levels and are bringing forward into my degree now, so I hope that they are useful for you no matter what stage of your academic life you are at.
These photos were taken on a recent night out I had, good for calming down and taking your mind off all of the exam stress but equally not productive at all!
1. Do what YOU need to do
Its very easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, but at the end of the day everyone is different and have their own methods on how to best cope with exam stress. My method to be the most productive was to get up early and just do it, but a lot of my friends are nightowls who would rather work through the night. This isn’t the only thing though, and here are some others that I have thought of the you should consider before deciding on what is the best method of productivity for you. And the more productive you are, the less exam stress you are going to have!
Type of learner? Visual, auditory or kinaesthetic? I actually have a whole post on being a visual learner here.
To do list or timetable? I work best with a to do list but again its all personal preference.
Notebook or laptop? I prefer a hybrid of the two.
Silence or busy atmosphere? Some people need silence to focus but I don’t like it and would prefer at least a little bit of background noise.
2. Talk to people, but not about the exams.
I found that talking about the exam before we went in was good for me, as we all bounced off each other and sitting on my own before made me work myself up inside before entering the exam hall. However, afterwards was a completely different story. Coming out of an exam and having everyone doing the ‘what did you put for this question?’ as soon as you stepped out of the hall genuinely upset me (especially if I thought I had done badly), and stressed me out even more. Me and my best friend at the time (now my boyfriend but thats a whole different story haha) were both the same, and we developed a routine where we came out of the exam, asked each other to give it a rating out of 10 and then that was the end of it unless we were wanted to speak to our teachers about it. We just used to go straight for a coffee and have a break, and just put it to bed before moving onto the next one. Its all very subjective though, some people do like talking about it to get it out of their system. Do what works for you, but be respectful of the people around you and don’t force them to talk if they do not want to.
3. Look after yourself
This isn’t me saying this tip like I actually did it, because I didn’t… but I’m giving this tip as when I look back I have realised that it is actually crucial. Over my A level exam season I survived like a zombie on a lot of coffee, a lot of medication and generally not a healthy lifestyle at all. Don’t do what I did! Look after yourself, go to bed early, drink and eat properly. It will make you function better! You aren’t a robot and if you need to take a break do it, you will feel better afterwards and your exam stress will be reduced. That being said, little things are going to make you feel better and help with the exam stress. Treat yourself to that chocolate bar if you want it. If you want some tips on how to calm down and destress before an exam then youtube is your friend- watch this video from the lovely Jade for some more tips on how to look after yourself to better cope with exam stress.
4. Get it out of your system.
Im going to say this now… its okay to cry. Its okay to have a complete meltdown. Exam season is hard, and everyone is going to snap under the pressure at some point, and stress built up inside of you is never a good thing for your mental state.
A very particular moment comes to mind. I had just come out of my macro exam, which was hands down the worst exam I have ever sat in whole academic life. It was utterly horrendous and it made it even worse considering it was one of the ones that I really focused my revision towards. I came out of it, and tried to forget all about it.. but it wasn’t working. I held it together the rest of the college day but as soon as I got into the car with my nan she just had to say ‘how was the exam?’ and that was it. The whole car journey home I was crying my eyes out, shouting and just generally being a really bitter human about how the exam went. But you know what? I had a mope around and I let it out of my system, and I moved on. And that is what you need to do!
5. This is only temporary.
Exam stress is only a temporary thing, it will only last the length of your exams, and that is something you need to remember. When you are in the depths of exam stress and feel like it will never come to an end… it will. There is only a few more weeks and then you have a super long summer filled with family, friends and fun. You will forget what exam stress feels like, your subjects won’t be a thing anymore. It may be super difficult now but remember that the harder you work in this moment, the prouder you will be on results day when all of the stress will seem insignificant as you open your fab results. Take a deep breath, you got this.
So they were my 5 tips on how to cope with exam stress, I hope that you found them useful and if you did I would love to know! If you have read this I presume you are taking exams right now, so good luck! I know that you will have worked hard and therefore are going to do super well, and make yourself proud on results day. Keep that stamina up, try not to stress too much about what you cannot change, and I’m sure that you are going to smash them. Thank you so much for taking your time out of studying to read this, it is much appreciated.