Dealing with exam stress can be hard for any student during the exam period. Especially during a time when there are external factors that each student has to consider when preparing for their exam. Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, institutions were forced to adopt distance learning, which has forced students to become accustomed to a new way of learning, which has inevitably produced new stress triggers amongst students. With virtual learning becoming a norm, students have had to adapt to being more accountable for their own time management and being independent in their study approach. Most students struggle with finding the balance in all of this, and end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Everyone is different, so when it’s exam time, the most common challenges that students are faced with vary. Some challenges faced are:
- Making time to study – literally scheduling it in with sufficient breaks
- Figuring out how much there is to study or cover within a timeframe
- Reducing their social life and chill time, whether that’s social media or watching Netflix
- Adopting healthy sleep and dietary patterns
- Perhaps not effectively utilizing the online support offered to them by their university/college.
We have put together a few handy tips to help you figure out how you can cope with this dreaded exam stress , establishing your triggers and managing them.
Establish effective study habits in advance
Prepare for and attend virtual lectures at the allocated times and consistently take notes during class. Remember to consult your lecturers and do the required reading or research after each lecture, to ensure that you’re on top of your game. Setting a realistic action plan for studying a couple of weeks before exams begin, will help you mentally prepare for the study period.
Find out the structure of the exam
Ask your lecturer which sections the exam is going to cover and try to study all of these sections. Find a strategic approach that works best for you and stick to it. You will know how you learn best, whether it’s visually or audibly.
Let off some steam before the exam
Planning your exam preparation and study routine in advance gives you time to plan fun activities for yourself before things get serious. Make time to relax, do entertaining activities and spend time with friends and family (our your pets, in Covid times). Remember to get active on a regular basis – your body and mind will thank you for it.
Budget enough time for sleep
Studies have shown that learning is consolidated while you sleep. So always make time to incorporate sufficient sleep into your routine, so that your mind can better focus in those times that it’s needed most – while studying and in your exams.
Form a virtual study group
Identify a group of people in your class, with the same dedication as you, to form a support group with, in order to go through chapters that you may need help with. Supporting each other will assist with those grades and will further build those friendship bonds. Check out our interactive study areas here.
Make use of past exam papers
Consult the library and lecturers to find out if you can gain access to past exam papers, which you can use as reference to find how the exam questions will be structured. This will better prepare you for your exam, but don’t expect yours to be the same and only study the sections that were in that previous paper. Your exam may just focus on completely different areas.
Manage your time effectively
Nothing triggers stress more than a piled up workload that could have been tackled weeks ago, but was left for the last few days. Always try and allocate chapters to study each day, and set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself, as to the time it will take you to complete each chapter. Train yourself to switch everything off and get to work – Yes that means your phone too, as those constant notifications are more distracting than you may realize. That way you will feel in control and on top of your workload.
We wish you all the very best! Smash those exams!