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Dealing with exam stress

We know preparing for your exams is hard work and can be stressful, so we’ve shared our top 10 tips for staying cool, calm and collected while studying.

1. Manage your time

We’ve all made the mistake of leaving exam preparation to the last minute. But you’ll feel so much calmer and avoid a whole lot of stress if you sit down at the start of your study block and plan out what you want to achieve each day. The hard part is making sure you stick to your plan! When you do, you’ll enjoy the well-earned satisfaction of ticking each task off your list.

2. Be kind to yourself

While self-discipline is required to stick to your study plan, remember you’re only human. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. As long as you are well prepared and do your best, you can feel proud. Don’t stay up all night studying – you’re not a robot! Rest is important, which brings us to our next tip…

3. Take regular breaks

Even if it’s just a 5-minute break to stretch your legs and clear your head, you’ll come back to your work with renewed energy.

4. Try a change of scenery

If you can’t stand the sight of your study desk at home for one second longer, grab your books and laptop and head to the library, park or your local café for a fresh outlook.

5. Don’t overdo the caffeine

It can be tempting to drink lots of coffee, cola or energy drinks to stay alert while you study. But remember, while a moderate amount of caffeine can help you stay focused and on task, too much can leave you feeling jittery, anxious and even lead to health problems. How much is too much? The Mayo Clinic recommends ingesting a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to roughly 4 cups of brewed coffee, 2 energy drinks or 10 cans of cola. However, it’s definitely not advisable to drink 10 cans of cola in one day due to the high sugar/artificial sweetener and food acid content!

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6. Stay hydrated

Your brain needs to be well hydrated to function at its best, so keep your fluid intake up with plenty of water. Keep a bottle or glass on your study desk to top up as you work. For a refreshing twist, try adding some flavour to your water with slices of lemon, cucumber or strawberry, or a sprig of mint. Herbal tea is also a great way to stay hydrated, especially in winter. Peppermint is our favourite to focus your mind.

7. Remember brain food

Take breaks for proper meals and keep healthy snacks at your study station to keep performing at your best. Nuts or dried fruit are great snack options and easy to transport.

8. Find a study buddy

Arrange to meet up with a friend or classmate to study. If you’re preparing for the same exam you can share ideas and test each other. Even if you’re working on different topics, the moral support and company can go a long way towards making studying a more pleasant experience. Just try not to get too sidetracked or distracted by long conversations or gossip!

9. Ask for help

Learn to recognise when you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Speak to your tutor or classmates for assistance with your course material. When you’re feeling a bit stressed, chatting to a family member or good friend can really help relax you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, speak to your general practitioner about how you feel and they’ll work with you to develop an action plan to address the stress.

10. Reward yourself

Each time you finish a study task or complete your allocated study for the day, treat yourself to something you enjoy – coffee from your favourite cafe, a scenic walk to clear your head or catch up with friends for a laugh.

Looking for more study tips? Have a read of our 10 tips to get motivated article!

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