ROPES Top Tips for Beating Exam Stress!
Now that exam week is upon most of our college readers, we know that the stress can be piling on. We have laid out a couple tips and tricks that might help you keep a level head.
First things first, take a deep breath. You got this! You’ve been working hard all year (mostly!). All the information you need is already in your brain, it just needs some rejigging. Instead of stressing, practice some different breathing techniques to find one that works for you. Try the 4-7-8 or 4-4-4. Always think about engaging your diaphragm when you find yourself needing to take a few deep breaths, shallow breathing signals a panic response that can result in panic or anxiety attacks. If you’re at home why not lie down and try some Belly Breathing?
Get the practicalities out of the way. Make sure you have all of your assignment deadlines noted down, along with the date and time of any exams. Double and triple-check these! Organise a timetable that allows you enough time to get everything done without burning yourself out. No all-nighters! Make sure you get at least 8 hours. Include some wind-down time in this too, you can’t hop right into bed from your desk. Let yourself relax before closing your eyes. Try a guided sleep meditation, or my preference, sleep stories. Matthew McConaughey has a very soothing one on YouTube called, ‘Wonder’. His baritone will have you snoring in no time.
Have a night off! Self-care is essential in making sure you perform to the best of your abilities. Take an evening to put down all your college work and focus on yourself. Self-care isn’t always fun. Make sure your space is tidy, that you have an outfit ready for the morning and enough food in your house for breakfast. Once you have all the less than enjoyable things taken care of, it’s time to enjoy yourself! If you have a bath, indulge in some relaxing bubbles or a bath bomb. If a shower is all that’s available, why not take the time to do a body scrub and body wash with your favourite scent? Try a face mask and fully chill out with your favourite Netflix binge.
You’re probably sick of hearing this but get out in the sun! Our weather isn’t the best but when we do get a bit of sunshine, try and make the most of it. If you find yourself suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, the lack of sunshine during the winter months may be affecting your levels of serotonin. Being out in the sun can be a great mood booster, which we all need when stressing over what feels like millions of assignments! Take a walk, visit a new or your old reliable coffee shop and find a good spot to settle down in on a picnic blanket (with your copy of ephemeral of course!)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to ask your classmates or lecturers for advice. They can be great even to use as a sounding board for your ideas. If you’re having an issue, you’re not alone. Other people in your class are likely as confused about certain topics as you are. Chatting out ideas or asking a lecturer for clarification might be a two-minute fix to a problem you’ll otherwise spend hours, or days stressing over.
And lastly, remember that these exams have an end date. For most of you reading, you will be finished at the end of May. Enjoy your summer! If you have repeats you’ll be okay, just rinse and repeat these steps!