Managing exam stress and anxiety

Managing exam stress and anxiety

As we approach exam season, our stress and anxiety levels can increase. It’s completely natural to experience these emotions, however it’s important to manage them effectively and not let them impact your studies.  Here are a few things you can do:

  • Reduce your stress by taking some time to create a schedule. You can do this for each week, or take each day as it comes.
  • Plot down 2-3 tasks or topics to work on each day
  • Plan your day by time blocking to the hour
  • Start with the most difficult or highest priority task
  • Create a realistic to do list

Creating a schedule will prevent wasting time  procrastinating, and will ensure you don’t miss out any important topics you need to cover. It also adds some structure into your days, and means you can stop working at a specific time.

  • Studying with friends can be a great way to calm your nerves, and stay productive. It means you can share your knowledge, revise content together and assure each other.
  • Schedule a Zoom call to go over any content you’re unsure of
  • Complete practice questions and mark each other’s, making sure you’re completely honest
  • Go for a socially distanced picnic with your study materials!

Not only that, but you can learn new methods to study which you may have never tried before. Don’t forget to not compare your progress to your friends progress!

It may sound obvious, but it can be easy to let our studies consume us and forget to factor in breaks. Aim to get up and moving after every hour of studying.

  • Go for a 10 minute walk
  • Get some fresh air and stretch your legs
  • Step away from your screen
  • Get some food or water

Taking breaks is essential to prevent burn out, and reduce exam stress. It’ll enable you to carry on your studies with a fresh, clear, mindset.

Whether your exams are in person, or online, take some time to familiarise yourself with how the questions will be asked and what the set up will be.

If you’re doing exams in person:

  • Confirm the exam venue and time
  • Pack all of your resources the night before
  • Factor in time to travel to the venue

If the exam is online:

  • Make sure you know what platform this is going to be held on
  • Check whether you need your camera on or not, it means there’s no unexpected surprise on the day!
  • Charge all of your devices
  • Get any resources out you need for the exam
  • Ensure your set-up is read

This is one less thing to stress about on the day, and  familiarising yourself with how the exam is going to be carried out, and what style of questions you can expect, can help reduce the exam anxiety you experience.

Self-care is so important to reduce both exam stress and anxiety. Looking after yourself is a priority, and to perform to the best of your ability you need to make sure you’re doing this.

  • Work within the designated hours you’ve set yourself, and after that focus on yourself
  • Do something you love – whether that be reading, writing or watching Netflix
  • Stay hydrated, eat well and get your 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Go for a walk or some other form of exercise, it increases the production of endorphins, naturally making you feel so much better!

If you are struggling with exam stress or anxiety, make sure you reach out to a friend, family member or teacher, or try writing about how you’re feeling. It’s always best to practice self-care by talking about your problems.

We’re in extraordinary circumstances, and you should be proud of yourself for the progress you’ve made within your studies. Give yourself a gentle reminder that it’s been a difficult and uncertain time, and having to adapt and study in circumstances you’re not used to is challenging.

Have a positive mindset, and believe in yourself. If you are struggling make sure you reach out and get the support you need.

Good luck with exams!

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