Is there really a ‘right’ way to deal with exam stress?

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It’s that time of the year again when everyone is desperately trying to learn 12 weeks worth of lectures in two, or trying to write 3,000 words on a book they’ve never read. If you want to work in the library you need to get there before 8am, or risk being sat in the small space between the boy who really needs to blow his nose, and the girl who likes to make herself at home by taking her socks and shoes off. That’s right, it’s exam season again.

Like every exam period at university, starting to revise feels like you are re-learning how to walk. Somewhere between January and May we forget everything: how to reference; how to string a sentence together, and how to work the security gates to get into the library. This hardly does anything for our stress levels.

Just a short walk around campus can show you exactly what finals are doing to students. Someone has fallen asleep at their desk in front of five cans of red bull, one girls eye-bags are so big they could carry your shopping, and there is the faint sound of sobbing coming from the toilets. But hey, at least you aren’t alone.

Whenever you read an article about how to deal with exam stress, they’re all the same. If they aren’t telling you to eat healthy and stop comfort eating, they’re telling you to only do a few hours of work a day and get at least eight hours sleep a night. But who really wants to be eating a salad when they have three hours until their deadline, but still over a thousand words to write?

Yes, eating healthy during exam season has its benefits, and you won’t end up with a sugar come-down like you would if you demolished a share pack of Malteasers, but there isn’t a definite rule book on how to deal with exam stress.

In all honesty, everyone has different ways of coping. As long as you aren’t making yourself ill with worry, and you know when enough is enough, that is a start.

But if you are after some solid advice:

  • Get up early! The earlier you start, the more time you will have to chill at the end of the day. Knowing you’ve done a solid amount of work by 4 o’clock and that you’ve got the rest of the evening to binge watch your favourite TV show is the best feeling.
  • Listen to your body! If you feel tired, don’t try and beat it and have that extra coffee, it will only make you feel worse a few hours later and make you more anxious. If you know you need a break, take it.
  • Find time to relax! Revising all day every day isn’t good for you. You may have left everything until the last minute, but your body still needs time to unwind after a long day. Try having a bath (if you’re a lucky student), or put on some chilled out music and fairy lights while doing something that takes minimum effort.
  • If you want that whole bag of Haribo’s, have them – but still have a proper diet! It’s so easy when revising to ditch your normal eating habits. But only snacking all day and skipping meals can only make you feel more tired and sluggish. If you haven’t got time to cook, pre-prepare your meals so all you have to do when you get home is heat it up.

Words by Stacey Turnbull


Aminah Khan is your Editor-in-Chief

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