It’s exam time: how to survive the stresses and get the best result possible

Whether we like it or not, the weeks keep rolling on and very soon it will be the end of the semester. For a lot of students, that means that it will soon be exam time.

The exam period can be quite stressful and is probably a level of stress that you do not need given everything else going on. But there are ways for you to keep the stress levels down so you can be successful in your preparation and results. Here are a few ways that I have used to keep it all under control.

Plan for the exam

Make a plan of what you need to know and how you will learn it. First off, when is your exam? That might sound like a silly thing to plan for but I know a couple of people who missed an exam because they write down the wrong date. It’s always best to be certain when it is to avoid any unnecessary panic. If your exam is online, find out where you have to go on the internet to access the exam and if your exam is in an examination room, know what room it is in.

Once you know when it is, you can then work out how long you have got to study and then set up a schedule of what you will study and when. It could be a couple of hours a day or a dense study session over a weekend. Fit this schedule in around class, work and any other committments. Just because you have an exam does not mean that all fun goes out the window… if you are prepared.

Within this, work out how you study best. What content will be covered in the exam and what is the best way for you to revise. Some students study best while reading, some study best through watching videos and through practical learning. Add some colour onto the page with highlighters to separate your work, or if there are any, do some past exams. Study your way and it should work out well.

Look after yourself

If there is a stressful exam approaching, some people stop looking after themselves. This is a crucial part of exam success. Make sure you look after yourself. Get the right amount of sleep that you need, which is usually between 7–9 hours a night. Not only will you wake up feeling good, but studies have shown that getting enough good sleep helps preserve new memories that you have just made, which is pretty helpful when studying for an exam.

Additionally, make sure you eat right and get enough exercise. Eat balanced meals and get enough fruits and vegetables in your belly. While good old Kentucky Fried Chicken tastes good day after day, it isn’t really what your body needs (my scales and I sadly know this fact). Look after your body and it will look after you, but also remember to look after your mind.

If you need it, ask for help

There are plenty of ways for you to prepare for an exam, but you’ve got to ensure that you are doing okay. The world is nuts right now and it is okay if you feel like you are struggling a little bit. There are resources around you to help you with your studies such as practice exams and exam workshops from Charles Sturt that are available soon. Also remember that you have people around you that can help you too.

Study with a group of friends or tell your family about your upcoming exam and what you are studying. Talking about content aloud is often a great way to help your preparation. Remember, you don;t have to go it alone. Besides, it is only an exam.

What to do on the day

If you have studied and studied and you feel prepared, that is awesome. You have worked hard and all the information should be in your brain. Try to relax. Listen to some music, have a good breakfast and be confident. You’ve done all you can and you just try your best. Look at a few final notes if you feel the need to and just breathe.

Finally, try to be a couple minutes early. That way if you are running a bit behind schedule, you’ve got a few minutes up your sleeve. It’s al about not being too stressed. You’ve got this.

Put it in perspective

Regardless of the result, it is just an exam. If you achieve what you want to achieve, that is epic and very well done. If you don’t, what will be the real impact? Maybe you will need to repeat a subject or maybe your overall grade will go down. The world is still the same and you are still you, no different to before the exam.

You are special no matter what grade sits upon your examination. Well done all the same. Be proud of yourself because you sat through a stressful exam and came out the other side – and onto the next thing in life.