Ten tips to beat exam stress

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Lee Bowling Student Engagement Manager at the University of Bedfordshire has put together some handy tips on how to combat exam stress.

1. Organisation and time management

Know your exam timetable and draw up a revision plan based on it. Prioritise the subjects you feel you are weakest in and manage your time spent on each subject or topic.

2. Set study goals and reward yourself

Set yourself a study goal for the day that can be broken down into smaller manageable tasks. Try to avoid studying for longer than 45 minutes without a break.

3. Use revision techniques you are comfortable with and you know work for you

Use revision techniques that you are familiar with, e.g. note making, spidergrams, flash cards, mnemonics or using highlighters. Vary the techniques and make it engaging for you.

4. Avoid cramming

You were not taught everything in one day, so don’t try to revise everything for an exam in a short space of time. If you manage your time and plan your revision, there will be no need for a late night cramming session the night before the exam.

5. Stay healthy

Keep yourself hydrated and eat healthily. This will maintain energy and concentration levels.

Get plenty of sleep, particularly the night before an exam.

6. Maintain routines

If there are activities you do regularly to help you relax, keep these up during your exams.

Whether it’s going to the gym, a kick about in the park or a trip to the cinema, you still need time to relax and unwind.

7. Be able to identify when you are stressed or anxious

Knowing when you are feeling anxious and how you react is important; you can develop coping strategies to help reduce the impact of stress and anxiety.

These could be breathing techniques, going for a walk or activities to distract you.

8. Seek support

Involve your friends or family with your with revision, they could test you or you could revise in groups. Talk to someone if you feel your exam anxiety is building up and affecting your health – seek support from your school, college or university.

9. Avoid the post mortems

Don’t hang around after the exam comparing notes with classmates. This will only increase any anxiety. Plan something positive and relaxing for after an exam.

10. Let It Go!

Accept what you cannot change. Exams are coming, they will happen and then they will be over. Be confident in your study plan, stick to it and have faith in that you are doing the best you can.

And finally - good luck to everyone taking exams over the next few weeks.

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