Tackling Exam Stress

I have been sitting at home revising today and all in all feeling quite stressed. I was finding it hard to concentrate and trying to fight an overwhelming feeling of dread. It didn’t help that I was ill earlier this week so had to take a break from revising. Facing this dilemma, I decided to do what any typical Physics student would when faced with a complicated problem – I consulted the internet for help! I found some very good links in the process which I will share with you in this blog, as I am sure many of you studying for A-level/ IB exams can empathise with what I was feeling!

My favourite link is this one. It’s on the NHS site for the Imperial College Health Centre and has a few different student profiles, so you can choose which one suits you the most. You are then navigated to a page giving you advice specific to your profile. For example, it turns out I’m a ‘procrastinating perfectionist’ according to the site (strange combination I know) and I it gave me the advice to stop using words such as ‘I need to’ or ‘I must’ when it comes to revision, but instead imagine myself with a choice; for example instead of ‘I need to finish this report by the weekend’,  I should say ‘it would be really good if I could get this done by Saturday’.

Another site I came across is here and it is by The University of St Andrews. It gives a range of exam advice from avoiding stimulants beforehand to what to do if you start to panic in the exam itself. I particularly like the ‘total tension release’ relaxation technique; I get the feeling I will be using it a lot over the next month! I also found this webpage by Nottingham University. It is worth downloading the ‘exam stress booklet’ from the site since this has lots of useful relaxation techniques and tips to keep yourself happy and healthy during exam season.

If you type ‘coping with exam stress’ into Google you are confronted with hundreds of these sites and many are very useful. As far as I can see the main points each booklet/ webpage makes are these: eat well, get enough sleep, take regular breaks and treat yourself after a revision session.  I am feeling better now after taking some of the advice on these sites, particularly by talking to someone who calms me down and by exercising. I think everyone goes through exam stress and the best thing we can do is to take on board all the coping techniques and advice there is out there and, if this still doesn’t work, ask for help!

If you are feeling like you can’t cope a few people you could go to are; a teacher/ tutor, a parent, your doctor, a university/ school councilling service, or perhaps a charity like Samaritans.


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About Lilian

Lilian has now graduated from the University of Leicester and is no longer blogging for this site. Lilian was blogging as a fourth year MPhys student, explaining how Physics can be rocket science – but then it can be chemistry, nanotechnology, biology and astronomy too.

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