Thursday, 10 May 2012

Top 5 Tips For Reducing Exam Stress

For the majority of people, including moi, it's exam time. Exam period is probably the most stressful time in most peoples lives and from personal experience I know it can all get a little bit too much sometimes. Over the last year or so I've been told or discovered a whole host of amazing ways of reducing stress - some of them seem so obvious, I don't know why I never thought to do them myself. But I guess that when you're all stressed and worked up you don't think too rationally.

So, here are my top 5 tips for reducing stress during exam and revision period:

1) Make a revision plan
This is really helpful - even if you don't follow it perfectly, it's a good way to see what you've got left to do and roughly how much time you have to do it in. Sometimes just seeing how many hours I still have to cram revision into can make me feel much better.

2) Take regular breaks and make the most of them
I'm sure this one seems like a no-brainer, but I know so many people who will just relentlessly go at revision from morning til night, with barely any time to just relax. It's really important that breaks are taken regularly.
To make the most of a revision break it's a good idea to:
  • Do something that involves getting away from your books and area of study completely - this really helps to clear your mind, so that when you get back to revision you're starting with fresh enthusiasm.
  • Do something that you personally love doing - reading, watching a TV show, exercising - anything! Don't do chores, or something that isn't relaxing and fun.

3) Go Cold Turkey (or get some Self Control!)
Both Cold Turkey (PC) and Self Control (Mac) are amazing products for helping with revision (and both are free to download). You type in a list of all the websites you'd like to be temporarily blocked, set the timer and off you go. I cannot stress enough how amazing Self Control has been for me when I've had exams or a piece of work due.

4) Clear your mind before sleeping
It's not good to finish your studying and then immediately jump into bed to try and sleep, your brain will still be going at a hundred miles an hour and you won't get a good nights rest. Not getting a good nights sleep means you won't be ready for the next day of studying. It's important to take at least half an hour to relax before sleeping - have a lovely soak in the bath or a nice warm, milky drink to send you off.

5) Take a walk
If it's all getting too much and you're on the verge of tears, and/or throwing things, just drop everything, pop on your coat and go for a ten minute walk. This works wonders. I've timed it as exactly 7 minutes from my front door, down to the beach and back - on numerous occasions I've left the house almost in tears and by the time I've got back in and sat down at my work I feel like I can take on the world. You'd be surprised what a bit of fresh air can do! :)

I hope some of you find these tips helpful, do you have any good revision tips?

Good Luck to any of you that are currently going through exam period ♥

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19 comments:

  1. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. My room looks like a child's right now, I've never been one for being able to sit down and just read my notes. I have to write them in bright pink and stick them to my wall to remember anything. It’s hard to do that with subjects like maths though, which kinda sucks because it’s one of the only things that works for me, although every time I hand in a mock paper into one of my maths tutors its written in felt tips and colour coded haha. I think they think I’ve lost the plot!
    I’m just hanging onto the thought that in 3 weeks this will all be over! Until January anyway :[

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    1. I'm terrible with revision too, I've never found anything that really works expect relentlessly copying out my notes until it starts to make sense in my head. Eh, I'm also holding out for 3 weeks time when it'll be summer and all my worries will be long behind me! xxx

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  3. Wonderful tips! I wrote my Bachelor Thesis in two weeks and I found it really useful to take breaks now and then. As you said, it's no use to read all the time.

    At least in my studies it's very useful to think about the exam already when reading the book. Like thinking what the teacher might ask and which is the main point that writer wants to state. And also critic is allowed: this book sucks - this is why! When you think about the exam questions beforehand, you'll get a much wider perspective on the book(s) and learning is more interesting.

    Aahh, sorry my crappy English again! I feel like I have no thoughts in my head anymore :D A rrrough day behind...

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    1. No! Your English is great :) I agree that studying with the exam in mind is definitely useful. I always read the practice questions before I start to study! xxx

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  4. Great tips! I am off the studying band-wagon for now, as I've completed my studies, but I sure as hell know what you're talking about after 4 years at uni! :)
    I had never heard of cold turkey (At first I read that bit really quickly and I thought you were actually suggesting people to eat cold turkey as a snack while studying! ha!) but that seems like a fantastic idea, I know I was constantly hopping in an out of facebook like a lunatic instead of revising!

    I also would take a small break once in a while to watch one of my recorded (or downloaded - cof cof) tv series, just to get things completely out of my head for 20 minutes or so. Worked like a treat and it was almost like a little compensation that I could look forward to after every couple of hours studying!x

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    1. Yeah, 4 years almost in the bag and I feel like I've been doing exams my whole life. It should be a breeze by now but it never gets any easier does it :(

      Haha yeah I'm the worst when it comes to facebook - our class has a group where we discuss questions so I purposefully leave FB off the blocked list and that's never a good idea!!

      Haha, who downloads TV shows? What? Hahahaha. xxxx

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  5. They are awesome tips :D loved them next year i have big exams and i always always always dont study because facebook or youtube is there! brilliant post! need more posts like these!

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    1. Aww thanks very much, glad you liked them and I hope you find them useful next year! xxx

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  6. this post makes me kinda happy I chose to work right out of college... very little in the way of exams! the last one I did was for my personal alcohol license... and that was about 6 years ago!!
    Good luck to you and everyone else out there!

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    1. Hehe I didn't need to take an exam to exercise my personal right to drink alcohol as often as possible ;) Thanks dearrrr, appreciate the love :) xxx

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  7. I love this advice! I'm finished with my grad school exams but working on writing a very important proposal and will be downloading Cold Turkey right away. :)

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    1. It's so useful! You'll wonder what you ever did without it! Good luck with your work xxx

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  8. Great tips Rachel - I've never heard of SelfControl! ;-) Greetings from Atlanta. ;)

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    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by :) Self Control is a fab program, especially when you have none of your own!! :D xxx

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  9. Such great advice. Where did you download cold turkey for your mac? I want to download it too but not sure where to look.

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    1. Hey, thank you! Self Control is the one you want for Mac - I've added links to the websites for both programs to the post now. :) xx

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  10. Making a study plan is indeed important. One of the great lessons of university is to learn to organize the material you have to cover into the finite blocks of time you have available. You have a wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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Thanks for stopping by! ♥