We’ve arrived at every university student’s least favourite time of the year – exam period! The archaic practice of piling into a room with hundreds of other students for three hours of writing is most student’s worst nightmare. After weeks of stress and preparation, you walk out of the venue feeling tired and hungry, with an aching hand and an ink stained arm. It’s easy to see why so many student’s pull their hair out at the thought of undertaking an exam.
But do not panic! We have compiled our top 5 ways to handle exam stress and to ensure you step into the room feeling confident and prepared. Read on to find out how to handle your exams without ever breaking a sweat.
1. Attend the revision week lecture
The best way to lessen exam stress is to make use of the study week. Where most student’s go wrong however, is skipping their final week lecture that covers the exam content and what to expect. Most lecturers are great at providing a detailed outline of the exam format and what chapters you will need to study. If they don’t supply you with anything like this, ask for one! They should be able to give you a rough idea so you don’t panic and try to cram the whole semester when you only needed to know three chapters! Once you have the information, you can start to break down what you need to know and divide and conquer the course content.
2. Organise annual leave if you need it
One of the biggest causes of exam stress is not leaving yourself enough time to prepare. Students will often take on extra hours at work, instead of asking for time off! Be upfront with your employer from the start of semester and let them know that you will need at least a few days off to study for your exams. That way it’s not a surprise when you come in a day before your exam and plead with them to let you go home. And if they turn around and say no, well then you can prepare in advance to structure your study time around your work schedule.
3. Make a plan
So you’ve gone to your final week lectures and organised a break from work, now what? It’s time to get organised! Many students start to panic once they see everything they have to know for their exams. The best way to approach your study is to make a list for each unit of what you already know and what you need to know. Then start tackling the content you don’t already know and finish off with revising what you do know. Make sure you prioritise each unit based on how soon the exam is, not how easy you find it! Leaving the Advanced Financial Accounting or Molecular Biology unit that is being examined two days from now until the last minute is not going to do you any favours!
4. Take time out to relax
Student’s often think that stopping to take a breath and just chill out is a waste of valuable study time. It can be one of the best things for you. There is only so much your brain can take in at one time, so it’s important to give it time to recharge and absorb all of the information you are trying to cram in. Allocate time into your schedule to do something you enjoy – take a bath, go for a run, grab a coffee, or watch some midday talk shows to numb your brain, whatever works for you!
5. If all else fails…
Don’t panic! If all of the above tips haven’t worked and you’ve left it till the night before to learn an entire unit, just breathe. There is no need to drive yourself crazy with stress. Just take a step back and put everything in perspective. Calculate what grade you need to pass and focus on learning what is guaranteed to be in the exam. If you walk in and find out that you are completely unprepared, just try and do the best that you can and remember that most universities will allow a supplementary exam. And try to at least get a few hours sleep so you don’t fall asleep and start drooling on your exam paper!
We hope these tips will prevent you from turning into a stress-out, sleep-deprived exam zombie! Always remember your support system including your classmates, friends and family and let them know if the stress becomes too much. And above all, don’t forget that thousands of other student’s are feeling exactly the same as you are.
Good luck to all those student’s undertaking their exams! Relax, breathe, and don’t give up!