Top ways to combat exam stress

Read these tips to help with your stress levels in preparation for exams.

Exam season is fast approaching, and it can be easy to get caught up in the stress of revision and balancing work.

Everyone can get stressed and overwhelmed with exams and deadlines, but it’s important to notice the signs of stress and work to ease the pressure.

We’re here to give you some top tips to help deal with stress and make sure you perform to the best of your ability.

What are the signs of stress?

Stress affects everyone in different ways, but here are some of the most common signs of stress:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Increased anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Easily upset
  • Muscle tension
  • Loss of interest in activities

If you are experiencing some of the signs above then you may want to consider taking steps to help reduce your stress.

Here are our top 8 tips for helping to combat the stress of exam season!

1. Get organised!

Make a to do list and a plan of everything you need to cover and when things are due. If you are able to visualise what you need to do and when it needs to be done by you’ll be able to balance your workload much better.

2. Allow for regular breaks

It may be tempting to work non stop, but it is much more productive and less stressful to work with breaks at regular intervals. For example, work for 45 minutes to an hour and then have a short break for 15 minutes.

3. Set achievable goals and reward yourself

Try and set achievable goals for each day, and then reward yourself once you have completed a task. Say to yourself, “If I can revise all of this chapter today I’ll watch a film on Netflix tonight!” This way you don't create unachievable expectations and you will feel good when you complete a goal. 

4. Make sure you have enough time to sleep

Scheduling in enough time to sleep is very important, and it’s much better to work with a good night's sleep to help beat feelings of tiredness and irritability. You’ll feel better and more productive the next day if you get a good night’s sleep. Plus you reduce the risk of sleeping in late and losing valuable work time.

5. Limit your use of social media

Constantly checking social media as a form of distraction from work is a common problem, but the more time you spend not on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. and not taking in constant updates of other people’s lives, the better your stress levels will be. Even just limiting social media use to the evenings can help with time management and stress levels.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Everyone needs help sometimes when studying, and it’s easy to ask a friend or email a lecturer a query about an exam topic. It’s much better to ask someone for help than to sit alone worrying about something. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.

7. If you get stuck, move on to something else

It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of staring at a subject until it makes sense, and worrying about how to figure something out. And wasting valuable study time in the meantime. If you get stuck while studying, take a break or move onto something else and come back to it at a later time after you’ve had a chance to clear your head or ask for help.

8. Know your limits

Everyone studies differently and has different techniques to help them learn. It’s important to know how you learn and when it is best for you to stop and not overwhelm yourself. Remember self care is the most important part of studying!

If you do find yourself feeling stressed then don’t hesitate to contact the Union Advice Service, located at Gun House in the Union, next door to Cafe Coco. You can call them on 023 9284 3478 or visit their webpage at

  Wellbeing   Stressless

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