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5 tips to beat exam stress

Exam period can be a real stress, and sometimes no matter how hard you try to keep your cool – things get on top of you. Say no to stress with these tips!
stressCredit: Seaterntiy – Flickr
Ah, that old familiar knot in your stomach that tells you exams are looming. Whilst some people like to believe a bit of stress can be good for you around exam time, science suggests otherwise.

When we're stressed, our brains release high levels of cortisol which clouds the way we think and gets in the way of rational thinking. Therefore, stressing about this stuff is likely to lead to you performing less well on exam day than if you were totally nonplussed – it's a cruel world!

So we're going to keep this article relatively short and sweet: the last thing you need to be doing when exam pressure is upon you is spend your precious time reading about how to not stress about running out of time.

However, it is worth taking ten minutes to think about how you could reduce your stress levels. In the long-run, taking steps to destress will increase your productivity, help you absorb more of the information you take in, and stop you from having a break down. Wins all round!

Our top 5 stress tips

  1. Prioritise your time

    stressedmouse
    Prioritising your time, subjects and work load will help reduce your stress levels, as you'll be able to ensure that the really important stuff is covered and at the right time.

    If you've got more than one exam to tackle, draw out a simple diagram with dates of each exam and how many topics need covered for each exam. This will give you a clear idea of how much time you need to dedicate to each exam topic and when you need to get started on your revision, so there won't be any nasty surprises.

    As you progress through your revision, tick the topics off that you've completed – this will give you a small sense of achievement knowing that you've finished something and are making your way to the finish line.

  2. Get organised

    organise

    This is pretty closely related to the first tip above, but we can't stress enough how much taking a bit of time to get yourself in order will make you feel more confident at acing these exams.

    As our handy 6-step guide to becoming the most organised person on the planet so rightly states, keeping a diary and writing to-do lists each day will keep you super prepared and on track to getting everything you need to do done and on time.

    Working out a daily routine and sticking to it is also good for the soul, as you'll feel a lot more in control of how your day pans out. Remember to factor in regular breaks (we recommend at least ten minutes every 1.5 hours, if not more) as these will do you wonders.

Keen on mastering the art of productivity? Check out our guide to getting sh*t done!
  1. Exercise and eat well

    Exercise

    Yeah, we know, you're exhausted. Sometimes the idea of exercising during times of high stress feels like the last thing we want to do, but we guarantee you will feel better afterwards (and could even have a bit more energy to do an hour more revision afterwards if you're feeling up to it).

    Exercise gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping – the result being that you sort of 'wake up on the inside'. As a result, once you stop, you're much more alert then you were before.

    Give yourself that push to get out for a run, go to the gym or just do a short work out in your bedroom. Exercise is a proven stress buster, as it releases endorphins in your brain, which are basically happy hormones.

    Eating the right foods during stressful times is also absolutely crucial for mental health– we have an entire list of the best foods to eat during exam time for you to check out. Not only have these snacks been proven to reduce stress, but they also increase brain power!

  2. Avoid social media

    socialmediaThis will be a tough one for many students, but if you can bear to part with your beloved snapchat for a few days, it will do wonders for your stress levels.

    Checking your Facebook during revision period is the worst type of procrastination possible, as we all know how quickly the time disappears when your snooping on your newsfeed.

    In addition to this, many of your friends will be in the same boat, so are likely to be talking a lot about how much they're studying (or not studying). This is likely to stress you out even more, or at least influence how much time you're spending revising.

    We know it's painful, but you'll get a helluva lot more done if you're able to cut social media out your life for a few days (or at least restrict it to the evenings).

  3.  Give yourself a break

    chillCredit: Andrey – FlickrThis is perhaps easier said than done, but try not to give yourself such a hard time. You're doing your best and that's the best you can do!

    Putting yourself under a lot of pressure will only have a negative effect, and as much of a cliché as this is – worrying really doesn't solve anything.

    Being good to yourself during periods of high stress is likely to give you a bit more motivation to work harder, so try splashing out on a massage to cheer yourself up, or go out for dinner with a friend to take your mind off things.

    You've probably managed to save a bit of money by not going out much during exam period, so now's the time to spend it!

    Have a look at our student deals page to see if there are any good discounts going so you can keep costs down – you're still a student after all!

Now stop stressing and get to it!

don't worryCredit: Michael Karl Witzel – flickr
So there you have it. Hopefully some of these tips will come in handy for bringing your stress levels down so you're able to focus a bit more.

If your stress is due to leaving everything down to the last minute, have a look at our guides on how to revise in one day and how to write a 3,000 word essay in 24 hours!

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