May 17, 2017, by Lucy
Dealing with the Pressure of Exams
I’m quite a stressy person normally, meaning that come exam season I am a mess. However, although it may be inevitable to feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of exams, there are some ways in which this discomfort can be eased. Trust me!
Be rational: as much as they may mean to you at the time, it’s worth remembering that exams aren’t everything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. You may need a certain grade to pass the year, or a particular percentage to secure a placement, but at the end of the day one bad mark isn’t going to take your future away from you. Although not doing as well as you need to might require you to work harder in the future, or take longer to achieve something than initially thought, it certainly dies that mean you can’t do something. Besides, there is so much more to life than exams: yes employers like to hire people with good grades, but they also like to employ people with experience, specialist skills and interesting hobbies too.
Find out what you need to know: it is highly unlikely that come exam season you will need to memorise literally everything on the course (I apologise if you do). To make your life easier take the time to discover what is actually covered on the exam so that you can learn this information in depth rather than vaguely memorising somewhat relevant information and hoping for the best.
Have a life: you may feel stressed or anxious whenever you are not revising, thinking that every moment should be spent being academically productive, however this really is rational. Just like when you attempt a dodgy fad diet and end up devouring an entire cheesecake 36 hours in, it is likely that after revising for 18 hours of the day you will eventually crash. Who cares if all your mates are claiming to be revising in their sleep, they are properly hindering their own progress. Give yourself a break, go outside, have some sleep. Whatever it is, have some me time and allow your brain to chill.
Remember that tomorrow is another day: whether this means not being too hard on yourself after having an unproductive day of revision, or whether this means to forget and move in from a bad exam, move forward. Sadly, despite all your biggest pleas, time machines don’t exist yet. Unless you can somehow transcend time and space, there is nothing you can do to change the past. Anyway, if you were a time lord, I imagine there’d be better ways to make use if your abilities.
Seek help: if you cannot deal with the pressure of exams alone, do not burden yourself with anxiety. Talk to someone! Be it your friends, your family, your personal tutor, or a counsellor / GP, it is always worth seeking help from those who can point you in the right direction of care so that you can improve your mental fitness and overall well-being.
*Information about dealing with exam stress specifically for the university can be found here