As an Ulster University student, coursework and lectures will naturally be a part of your everyday life – and with this comes exams; another key part of your learning; It’s through theses where you can occasionally get stressed. Even if you’ve been taking excellent notes all year, and have revised daily, stress can still creep up on you, so here are some easy tips on how to cope with any exam stress you may feel.
Begin from within
“You are what you eat”, or so the saying says. But basically, if you’re eating rubbish, you’re going to feel like rubbish. Replace those takeaways and ready meals with wholesome, home cooked food. Starchy carbs like potatoes, white pasta, and bread can make you feel tired and with tiredness comes stress. Instead try healthier alternatives such as sweet potatoes, brown pasta, and whole wheat breads.
Give your brain an extra boost by eating foods that can help boost your memory, concentration and general brain functions. Food such as oily fish, nuts, tomatoes, green leaves, and broccoli are just some of the foods shown to help your grey matter. As well as food, drink is also important to keep healthy and stress-free; Try to drink at least a litre bottle whilst revising as this will keep you hydrated and focused.
Schedule your sleep
Stress can be a side effect when you’re not looking after your health. We’re not saying you need to sign-up for a personal trainer, but what you can do is make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged between 26-64 years of age should be getting between 7-9hrs sleep. So, make sure you set yourself regular bedtimes to help you get enough shuteye.
Give yourself a break
Revision is a necessary part of the lead up to exams but don’t be too hard on yourself. After an hour of some good revision time take a 20-minute break. This could be a brisk walk, checking your emails and social media, or even to have a cup of tea or coffee. Whatever way you prefer to take your break, just try and step away from your computer screen and books. Afterwards you’ll hopefully feel more refreshed and ready for more study.
One of the best ways to beat stress is to face it head on. If there is module that you’re not confident with and are worried about it making up a large part of your exam, talk to your lecturer and classmates. They can help explain the areas you’re not clear on, or in a new way that makes more sense to you. The worst thing you can do is avoid the things that worry you. Read over your lecture notes and handouts, if you are still stuck go speak to your lecturer that’s what they are there for.
Exercise the stress away
Exercise is something we all should be doing in one way or another – it’s not just our bodies that benefit from a great physical workout either. Exercise is excellent for relieving stress. How? Well, moderate to hard physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce perceptions of pain (be it actual pain, stress, or anxiety). Endorphins’ magic doesn’t end there – they also trigger a positive feeling in the body and mind, making you feel naturally happier.
When the stress and anxiety of the exams seems all too much, go for a short run, cycle or a nice swim. You’re sure to feel more cool, calm and collected.
These are just some of the ways you can make exam time a little more manageable. Leaving you stress-free and allowing to achieve the results you deserve.