Oh no! It’s exams, time to cram in a semester or years’ worth of work into a few key study sessions. “I will never learn it all” I hear you say mid panic while eating an entire packet of oreos. Before you have a total meltdown (again) let’s look at a few tips to help you survive your exams without completely losing the plot.
Pace yourself with the study! – Study in blocks of 20-30 minutes only (unless of course you are doing a practice exam) and then take a 5-10 minute break. While studying for hours on end might seem tempting, it isn’t what is best for your brain and concentration. It is a lot easier to motivate yourself to do 30 minutes of study than it is to do 3 hours. Don’t forget to take a longer break for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Enjoy your study breaks – You have earnt them. Do something you find enjoyable. Study can be extremely stressful, why not break up that stress with something that makes you smile or giggle? A funny Youtube video, a Facebook meme, rubbing the belly of your pet or having a joke with your friend. Give yourself permission to do something super un-study-related, if only for 5 minutes at a time.
Have a study curfew – Assign yourself a study finish time, preferably at least an hour before bed. Your brain has been working hard and you have been feeling stressed, you are in dire need of recharging. Give yourself the best chance of sleeping well by shutting the textbooks and switching off the computer well before bed time.
Don’t study on the morning of an exam – It’s so tempting to cram one last piece of information into your brain before you head into that exam, but studying on the morning of the exam is likely to do more harm than good. Last minute revision is only going to freak you out about what you don’t know! Instead, set the intention to have a calm morning and focus on really taking care of yourself. Have a good breakfast, have a shower and put on that ‘get psyched’ playlist.
Take a break and don’t fight the freak out - If you have a freak out while studying, take a break for an hour to allow your feels to come and go on their own. Watch a tv show, have a bath, go for a walk, call a friend. Sometimes the more you fight it, the worse it gets, so allow yourself an hour to cry it out, vent your frustrations and be a hot mess. After that hour resume study. Repeat as needed.
What do you do to fight the exam stress? Help out your fellow students by sharing what works for you in the comments section of this Youtube video or on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/haileyplattpsych/)