Summer is on the horizon and yet the library is calling because exams, deadlines and the inevitable stress are looming. It’s normal to get stressed when preparing for end of year assessments, it shows that you actually care somewhat about doing your best and working hard. However, there are dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with this stress, so let’s look at what they are!
DO: Revise little and often
End of year assessment stress hits a bit different than other deadlines, because it can feel like the final hurdle that everything has built up to. One way to manage feeling overwhelmed by this pressure is to revise little and often. Figure out how long your brain can focus for best; this could be an hour, two even three. Use that time to really absorb as much content as you can and do this little and often. It will get you into a habit of revising without completely dreading an entire afternoon/evening in the library, while also avoiding leaving everything to the last minute.
DON’T: Try to revise in environments that don’t suit you
Trying to revise in a setting which doesn’t benefit you can leave you feeling more stressed than before. This is because your brain is likely to disengage from the task you’re trying to focus on, thus wasting valuable time. If you work best in quiet environments, don’t agree to join your friends for a morning in the café to do work because you won’t get anything done and it will be a waste of time. If you’re going to revise for assessments make sure to do it in the best possible environment for you, to maximise results and progress.
DO: Make yourself aware of your stress triggers and implement coping mechanisms
If you suffer from a mental health condition, you may respond to assessment stress more heavily than others. A helpful tip to manage this is to reduce your stress levels as much as possible through reducing caffeine intake, practicing regular breathing techniques, getting enough sleep and asking for help when you recognise that you need it . If you get stressed in exam environments, make sure to inform your tutor of your specific requirements to reduce being stressed on the day, such as having extra time or an individual exam room. Being prepared for the worst-case scenario will prevent you from overthinking and actually make it less likely for a panic to occur.
DON’T: Go to the pub and wing the exam
If you’re trying to manage stress in exam season, going out and trying to ignore the problem is not going to make it go away despite how hard you try. It’s important to still take breaks, have a rest day, engage in self-care & keep up exercise – all of these things will help to recharge your brain and give your mind a rest from working hard. However, regularly binge drinking during assessment season can have a significant impact on how your brain retains and processes information as it affects memory function and acts as a depressant which will only worsen stress levels.
DO: Try different study methods
If you find you’re struggling to retain information through revising via one method and this is causing you stress, try out other study methods such as study apps like Jamworks as it could be less time consuming and give you a sense of calm.
DON’T: Make less effort based on the grades you got during the year
If you have struggled with assignments throughout the year and haven’t hit the grades you were hoping for, don’t let this discourage you from performing at your best in end of year assessments. I know it’s hard to keep trying when things don’t seem to be going your way, but exams are the time when you can try and turn things around so don’t lose hope and just hold on for a bit longer, you can do it!
DO: Plan something for after deadlines to work towards
If there is nothing exciting coming up for you shortly after the end of year assessment period, get planning! We all need a little motivation, and if you have something to look forward to, you won’t feel as sad about having to stay in studying instead of out in the sunshine.
I hope you find these tips helpful and wish you the best of luck with your assessments!