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Surviving Exam Season

Marie Therese Gumpert | July 15, 2019

Exams, whether those we go through at university or the ones we face in our final years of high school. These will forever remain times of anxiety and stress. You will be working very hard, revising and practicing past papers over and over again however, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy balance in life, be it with your fitness, nutrition or even just taking some time off.

As students, we often forget to take a moment to breathe, go for a walk or make time to see friends. This occurs due to the guilt we tend to feel for “wasting time”. However, if your mental and physical health are not on point, you will be wasting much more than only your time.

So here is my little cheat sheet to surviving the exam period:

I know myself, and I cannot study without Oreo thins similarly, a friend of mine cannot begin her study sessions without a cup of boba. As you might have guessed these are not the healthiest options when it comes to “study snacks” but they are a necessary evil. It is important to realise you may have an unhealthy study habit, however it is also important to not be too strict with yourself as you are going through stressful times. In my case, I made sure to only eat my Oreos as a “reward” for a finished study session, I tried to avoid buying them on days I wasn’t studying and would definitely never buy the big packets.

Another rule of mine is to always have something to look forward to after your exam, this can be something as small and insignificant as buying yourself a food item from your favourite cafe or treating yourself to a cinema night with a friend. By putting something you can look forward to right after your rather unpleasant and stressful obligation, you will trick your brain and relax. Looking forward to a day of treating yourself instead of one with nothing but an exam and revision truly helps get a full nights rest and wake up with a bit more “lightness”.

Another thing I try to do the day of my exam is not revise, I know this may sound counter productive however you will tire yourself out so quickly by putting too much pressure on yourself. Know that you have done the work and can have evening to yourself. Then start off the next day fresh and ready to work hard.

Now for the day before your exam. It is essential for you to let your body and your mind rest for at least eight hours prior to the exam. By doing this you allow your body to store energy, your memory to store all the information you’ve gathered the previous days. It will allow you to be fresh and ready for the strenuous task your are about to face.

On the day of the exam, make sure you have a healthy breakfast such as oatmeal. Leave home early to get to your exam without having to rush to get into the examination room. You can review your notes, read through them if it calms you, but refrain from talking to other students about what they studied or what they expect to be on the exam. Doing this will only lead to more anxiety and that’s exactly what you don’t need before you go to sit an exam. Whatever you studied up to this point is all you will have in your exam and whether that is a lot or a little, attempting to cram any new information 5 minutes before the exam will not help you.

After the exam, do not ask everyone you see what answers they got, whether you answered the same questions the same way or anything of that sort. At this point it is already too late and there’s no need to stress yourself out with anyone else’s answers. You have done your best and that is all that matters.