Exams Stress Support Wellbeing

A guide to surviving (and thriving) this exam period

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The start of a new year can be stressful enough, without the additional complication that you suddenly have to hold a semester’s worth of knowledge between your ears in the space of just a few weeks.

So while you can’t avoid the fact that exams are happening, we’ve got together a quick guide to help things go smoothly so you can get through the next few weeks with as little stress as possible.

Set yourself some (realistic) daily goals

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Break down your subject into smaller tasks and revision suddenly becomes less daunting. You know what to focus on throughout the day and it doesn’t seem like as much of a chore to start the next task when you know you’ll be done in no time.

Schedule in short breaks every hour or so in between tasks, or larger ones at less frequent intervals to make sure you don’t burn out. Before you know it, you’ll have whizzed through the module without it being too much work to handle.

Stock up on tupperware and get in the kitchen

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It’s feels like a given to eat healthy and feed your brain during the exam period, but when you’re revising the last thing you have time for is spending hours in the kitchen cooking. So our advice is to prep some quick, easy meals and do some batch-cooking so you have everything you need for a week of revision.

With a little bit of planning and a big shop at Aldi, you can get a week’s worth of meals cooked in one afternoon, eliminating the urge to order your 6th Deliveroo of the week or getting on first name terms with the cashier at your local corner shop when you’re stocking up on pot noodles and multi packs of crisps.

Sitting in the library doesn’t mean you’re studying

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OK, hear us out here. You go into the library with only the best intentions, but an hour or two in your boredom gets the best of you and you’re watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram while convincing yourself it ‘still counts’ if you just stay put.

You know in reality you’re not getting the most out of your revision, so instead of chaining yourself to your desk try taking regular breaks – get some exercise, grab a coffee with a friend or stock up on some revision snacks. You could also visit the Student Wellbeing desk in the Main Library, as they have a load of free, relaxing activities going on throughout the exam period.  

It’s ok to have fun during your exams…yes, really

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It’s easy to feel guilty about having even the slightest bit of fun when exams and deadlines are approaching, but time spent doing something you enjoy could actually help you keep morale up and stay motivated.

Now we don’t advise going all out the night before a big exam, but taking an evening off to relax, socialise and feel a bit more human won’t make or break your whole exam season. In fact, having things to look forward to can spur you on and reward all the hard work you’ve put in.

Keep where you sleep and where you study separate

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A top tip for staying sane during your exams is to keep where you revise and where you rest separate. When you make the mistake on blending the two, it can be so hard to get away from revision when you need to rest and it’s way harder to relax with post its and flashcards looming over you.

Instead, set up a separate place to revise away from your bedroom – try the library, a local café or even one of our secret study spots around campus and the city. It’ll help you get in the zone and reduce the feeling of guilt when you’re having some well-deserved R&R at home.

Bonus tip: ask for help if you need it

Sometimes the stress of preparing for exams can get too much. If you find yourself struggling then don’t forget to reach out and find support. Remember that you’re not alone in this and your friends are probably in the same boat as you.  Make sure you take the time to chat through your worries with them, as you could help each other out and relieve some of that stress.

If you need academic help, your tutors and lecturers will be there to answer any questions you have related to the exam. The University also has a range of support services and staff in place who know what you’re going through and can give you advice and support to help you through this period.