MHAW: Managing Exam Stress

Posted 6 days ago

See below for our top tips on managing stress during exams

Before exams start…

Ask for help, including access arrangements

Asking for practical help from your lecturers and tutors may seem nerve-wracking, but they’ll be used to it!

You should also see what access arrangements may be available to you. Information on Inclusive Practice and Access Arrangements at University of London can be found here, however it’s worth noting that your federation member (e.g. King’s, UCL, etc.) may have other policies.

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Organise your revision

It’s a lot easier to procrastinate or find excuses to do something else if we don’t have a plan in place, and having a plan also means you’ll spend less time worrying about what to study when you do sit down to do it.

Also, ticking off each subject as you go may give you a sense of satisfaction, and boost your confidence. It’s a record of all the preparation you have done!

Check in with your friends

Many of your friends will be going through the same experience as you, so they’ll know what you’re feeling.

Try to catch up with them, either to chat about exams or to take a break from studying. You might find this helps them, too, which can make us feel better in ourselves.

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When exams begin…

Be mindful of your coping mechanisms

Everyone will have their own way of coping with exam stress, but it’s important to find ways that work for you. Your friend may cope by staying in to do some self-care, whereas you may prefer to let off steam at the gym.

Samaritans have developed a useful Coping Planner to help you work out which coping mechanisms could help you the most.

Reward yourself

Rewards can help to boost our motivation. You could try a method called temptation bundling – pairing something you enjoy with something less enjoyable. For example, deciding that you can listen to an episode of your favourite podcast if you get an hour’s study done.

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After exams…

Take time to recharge

It’s a good idea to plan something to look forward to for after an exam is over. This could be a lunch with friends or a good exercise class.

It’s helpful to take your mind off of the exam and to give yourself time away from the pressure of study, especially if you have another exam coming up.

Reflect, but don’t compare

We know that the temptation after an exam is to discuss with your course mates to try to work out how well you might have done.

No amount of comparing notes will change your answers, and you’ll likely only focus on the things you didn’t include, which may cause unnecessary worry.

So, take the time to reflect, but try not to add unnecessary worry by discussing details with your friends. It’s also kind to be mindful that they might not wish to discuss the exam for this reason, too.

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Keep your eyes peeled on CampusLife in the coming days for more Mental Health Awareness Week content!