for better mental health

14 ways to beat exam stress

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 Sam Edom

Sam Edom, from our digital team, blogs about the best tips you've sent in for coping with exam time.

Exams are just not nice. For most people, myself certainly included, memories of exams consist of tedious hours of revision, last minute panics and anxiety inducing post-exam chats with friends, that only ever convinced me that I’d got everything wrong.

With exam season ever closer for students across the country, we at Mind wanted to do a few things to ease the pressure. We’ve already got Emoodji, our new app to help students navigate the ups and downs of uni life, which you can download for free on iOS and Android. But we wanted to do more, so we asked our supporters for their top tips for coping with exam stress, or any kind of high pressure time.

This is what they said – please do share far and wide, especially if you know a student about to descend on exams!

The scale of the challenge can be so intimidating that just getting started can be really hard. Katherine’s got great advice:

1. "If you struggle with motivation, start in good time by doing SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter how small, just something that helps with the upcoming exams early on."

Here’s a few good revision hacks:

Rachael:

2. "Make sure you make a timetable to organise what revision or essay work you’re going to tackle each day. It really helps you set out what you need to do in small chunks."

3. "Looking over some past exam questions or even answering some in exam conditions can help calm your nerves."

Shay:

4. “Use apps to block social media websites temporarily so you don’t get distracted.” (Like SelfControl, Cold Turkey or others)

5. “Use Post-it notes to help break ideas down into bite-sized chunks and highlight key points you wish to remember.”

6. “Draw mindmaps to see the big picture.” (You can use online tools)

It’s never going to be fun, but here’s a few ideas on how to make revision not too terrible:

Emily:

7. “Put a sweet in random pages – then you’ll have a surprise treat every now and then!”

Ben:

8. “Grab a good pair of headphones and play some instrumental music. Lyrics make it harder but instrumental music settles in the background and helps you sharpen your focus.” (I’m doing this while writing this blog!)

Alice:

9. “To make my day more manageable, I would break down each hour in to 40 minutes of solid revision followed by 20 minutes of tea making/Beyoncé blasting/wandering in the fresh air, so that I never felt too chained to my laptop on any given day.”

At the peak of exam stress, it can be easy to forget about you:

Rachael:

10. “Remember that you’re not a machine. You deserve time off! Make sure you factor in time to watch a film, go out for a drink with friends or grab a coffee. The most productive brains are those that rest properly too!”

Kelly:

11. “Break up your revision with some exercise! Whether it’s a brisk walk or a session in the gym, not only will it let your mind relax for an hour, you’ll also get a burst of energy.”

And you can never really go wrong with my dad’s time honoured soundbite:

12. “Go to bed early and drink lots of water.”

At the end of the day, keeping things in perspective is one of the most powerful ways of keeping your stress levels under control:

Molly:

13. “Focus on you and don’t worry about anyone else. Remember your best is good enough!”

Jade:

14. “Keep everything in perspective – in 5 year’s time this will not be a concern and regardless of the outcome, things will be ok anyway.”

These are some ideas to get you going – thank you so much to everyone who sent in their tips! Please do share this blog and feel free to comment below with any further suggestions.

For more info on exams and coping with student life visit our information pages or try the Student Minds website.

Best of luck!

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