So it’s that time of year where the library has become 24 hours, people are stocking up on red bull and coffee, and endless hours of revision become a routine of normal life… That’s right it’s the daunting exam period! Realistically speaking, some stress before and during the exams is literally inevitable, however it is making sure that this stress doesn’t negatively impact you. Personally, I used to not be very good at managing my stress levels during this period, but by trying and testing different things over the years I have improved quite a bit (my friends may say otherwise, but oh well). And that’s exactly what it is; it is trying to find out what works best for you, as something that may work for one person may not necessarily work for you. So, here’s how I do it:
1. Grab a study buddy:
Having a study buddy who is going to be able to push you when you feel de-motivated, makes sure you get to the library on time, helps you revise and makes sure you aren’t distracted is the ideal companion you need during this time. My study buddy and I start the week by making a plan for each day and what we want to accomplish by the end of that day. We keep each other focused by preventing the other from using any form of social media, yet at the same time if we see that either of us are starting to panic or the stress levels are sky rocketing we go for a break outside the library. Another effective thing my study buddy and I do is set a goal that we work towards. So for example we treat ourselves with a smoothie after every exam we do, which is how we keep motivated.
This leads me onto my next point, it is very important to give yourself a break during your study sessions because as annoying as it is, we aren’t robots and our brains are only capable of taking in a certain amount of information at one time. One of the things I do is I take a ten-minute break for every hour of revision I do. In those ten minutes I go down to the café in the library, fill my water bottle, quickly check my phone and then get back to it. However, it is also very important to occasionally get out of the library and get some fresh air. I would also advise that you should sometimes have time away from the library and study elsewhere, as studying in once place can sometimes become less affective.
Furthermore, it is important to have days where you are not studying and are doing something completely different, as this gives your mind a break and allows you to recharge. This is important because if you keep studying every single day, you start to lose motivation and eventually the hours you are spending on studying go to waste as nothing goes in. For example, now that I have finished two of my five exams, and my next one is on the 9th, I gave myself some of my mornings off and would either blog, paint my nails or do house chores to give myself a distraction.
Also having a break with your friends can really help destress as friends tend to know how to turn your frown upside down! Friends are also great when you have a build-up of anxiety and stress and you need to let some steam out as they are always there to listen. So go grab a drink or watch a movie or simply just catch up and have a good laugh.
It is usually during the exam season where people hardly work out (and I am guilty of that myself), however we forget the wonders that exercise can do! I am not saying go to gym for a full cardio and weights session, but at the same time even half an hour in the gym can really release those endorphins which in turns helps reduce the stress levels and really makes you feel good about yourself (but let’s be honest it will also make you feel less guilty about that chocolate bar you indulged on while studying :P). So try incorporating a wee bit of exercise in your schedule even if it means signing up for a class like Zumba which usually lasts no more than forty five minutes.
And if you aren’t too keen on the gym I have a solution for you as well- DANCE! I literally dance all the time and it’s my favourite way of destressing and really does play a role in lifting my mood. What I do after I come home from the library is go into my room, start blasting up beat Bollywood music and then shake a leg! If you aren’t too keen on dancing, even listening to an upbeat and happy playlist on Spotify will really help destress.
4.Bring out the inner MasterChef in you:
Eating properly during the exam period is also an important factor which contributes to your studying. Having a meal that is filling will not only fuel your brain but at the same time avoid unnecessary snacking. Also, I can’t stress on how important it is to eat and avoid skipping meals because firstly it is unhealthy and secondly you will hit a point where your brain won’t be able to function and thus the onset of headaches will arise from that and you become more anxious as you are not able to retain information (been a personal victim of that).
Furthermore, I understand that during the exam period cooking can seem to be a lengthy process that you don’t want to waste your time on, however you can see the cooking session as a break for you to unwind and switch off for a while. For me my cooking sessions and dinner times are the periods where I either catch up with my flatmates (who I barely see otherwise during this time), talk to friends or parents from back home or watch TV shows. Another tip I would like to suggest is, when you do get the chance to cook, try cooking in bulk so that either you can freeze some meals or have meals for the next couple of days which helps you from having to cook every day or having to eat takeaway and ready meals.
5.Siesta and Sleep:
Lastly and maybe the most important tip I stand by is getting a good night’s rest. Because although it may not seem like it, sleep can play wonders with aiding your memory and is essential for recharging your batteries as studying can be a mentally exhausting process. Sometimes even having a quick fifteen-minute nap in the afternoon while you are revising can help refresh your brain and get you back on track. So, although it may be tempting to keep pumping in those energy drinks and cups of coffee and staying up late into the night, it will eventually become counterproductive as your ability to retain information will drastically decrease.
So, there you have it, those are the five things that I follow to help me deal with the double SS’s during this period. And at the end of the day all you can do is work hard, put in the necessary effort and give it your best shot. Good luck everyone!