I’m sure every university student will become overwhelmed at some point in their course which will cause them to feel stress. So, remember you are not alone! Stress is very common at university, especially exam stress. Have a look and listen to these tips on how to avoid exam stress:
Prepare in advance
Preparation is key to trying to avoid exam stress! Make sure you know all of your deadlines and exam dates.
A good place to start is to check you know where you can find all your available resources and get your hands on any books you may need. You will most likely be able to loans these from the library. If not, I managed to get most of my books for cheap off Amazon and Ebay. I was also able to sell these back to the University to sell them on.
When making sure you know all your deadlines and exam dates it is very helpful if you write them down on post it notes and stick them on your wall or desk. This way It is a constant reminder and it will help you stay on track and meet your deadlines.
Sort out a plan
Create a plan leading up to your exam. Write down all the topics you need to cover and give yourself time to go through past papers. This way you will clearly be able to see how you are going to cover everything before the exam. This allows you to avoid any stress that comes from feeling unprepared.
Start earlier than you think you need to
If you have all the resources you need and have learned all your content then start going over little bits straight away! Even if other students have not started yet or are not planning to start for a little while. You will not thank yourself enough if you start spending a little bit of time each week just going over some of the content.
At this stage it might be best to start creating some flashcards or mind maps to retain the information and learn it. The more times you go over something, the more likely you are to remember it.
Study in groups
Group studying is one of the best ways I have found to study. It can also help you avoid stress. When you work in a group, you can bounce ideas off each other. I found that explaining the theory behind things or explains answers to other people meant that I was consolidating my learning as well.
Try to avoid working with people that are going to distract you. However, you must ensure that you give yourself time to socialise with the people in your study group. An idea is to study for an hour and then all have a 15-20-minute break and just talk. This will keep your brain active.
Know your exam structure
One of the most important things you need to do that sometimes gets left behind is knowing your exam layout. Do you have lots of little short form questions, or will you have big long form questions that account for 25% of the paper?
This is very important and sometimes gets left behind when you are concentrating on the content rather than applying it.
In addition to learn the typical answer structure that comes up in the mark schemes. I can guarantee that there will be someone that doesn’t use the typical answer structure and as a result the examiner will much prefer reading yours. This could result in a better grade. make it easy for your examiner to give you the marks!
If your exam is time pressured, then learn how to manage this. For example, make sure you do all the questions you have a better understanding off first so you can almost get guaranteed marks. Rather than struggling with the harder questions and wasting your time.
Practise past papers
The exam boards can only vary a question so much, so it is a fantastic idea to look and revise from past papers. As long as the curriculum doesn’t change, the questions won’t change too much. Therefore, you can use the past papers as revision. You will find you absorb a lot more information whilst doing questions as opposed to reading and taking notes from a text book. However, it is always useful to look over the text book once you have done a question in the paper, just to check if you could add any more information to your answer.
Past papers help you to understand the style of the questions. I personally liked using them as mock papers to see what I would have gotten if that was my official exam paper.
Exams will always cause you stress and you are most likely never going to remove stress all together. However, these little tips can hopefully help the process a little less stressful for you and more manageable. Not all the tips will suit you, however it is very beneficial to give them a go. The exam stress you are feeling will be a common theme amongst the others in your class so make sure you speak to each other. Reach out for extra help from your tutor if you need it and remember to priorities your wellbeing over everything else.