Ways to Cope with Pressure During Exams

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger 

University is stressful - that bears no need of repeating, especially exam season. Nowadays, it can be even harder to deal with exams because there is so much pressure via social media to be perfect. Whether that’s the pressure of perfect grades, a perfect social life, perfect looks and so on. Being perfect is something we are all striving for, yet we know it’s impossible to obtain. It's like trying to get a drunk friend to act sober in front of the bouncer.

During exam season, trying to be perfect is a lose-lose situation.  As much as it feels impossible, the best thing to do is be easier on yourself, which is why I have compiled a list of things that will help you during this stressful time.

#1 Have mindfulness

I have put this tip at number one because I think it’s the best and simplest way to keep your stress at bay! Mindfulness is having the focus of the present world around you instead of focusing on what is stressing you out. This is so important because it goes directly against the anxious and worried thoughts that come with being stressed, but it can be hard. Some ways to practice mindfulness are meditation and exercise. You could also put your phone away if that tends to make you more stressed.

#2 Taking time for yourself

This may sound counter-intuitive during exam season because there is so much to get done. But it’s important to have everything in moderation. If you study too much you will eventually limit your productivity. It’s important that when you take time for yourself you focus on what brings you joy to help take your mind off what is stressing you out. Taking time away from your phone is also important during this step too!

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#3 Changing your perspective

Try to change your perspective and focus on the final product rather than the process. It is very hard during exams to not stress out about grades, but when you are studying try to break it up into many goals, not just one goal. Often this end-goal can add so much pressure that it distracts you from where you are now. Draw your focus away from perfection and failure, and focus on what you enjoy about the task at hand and why. Wishing for the end distracts you from the fun of the present!

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#4 Pomodoro Technique

Sometimes getting into your studying can feel so overwhelming it is hard to start. The Pomodoro Technique really helps this go away. There are lots of free apps that help you follow the Pomodoro Technique when you study. This technique breaks up your studying into certain times, which helps you to get through massive workloads. It also pushes you to actually start instead of procrastinating.

#5 Re-evaluate what is ‘perfect’

It is important to remember that you are human, and no one is amazing and productive 24/7, so you shouldn’t expect yourself to be. Having these expectations can actually bring harm to yourself or others, and you will find yourself in a worse situation than when you started. It can take some work, but it is really important to focus more on being you than being perfect.

Handy tip: Instead of comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself to you a week ago, a year ago, or five years ago. You will see how much you have come in achieving your goals without even realising. It’s important to recognise your accomplishments too, be more proud of yourself!

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#6 Examine your environment

During exam season it’s important to focus on the environment around you. Your environment is one of the main things that affect your emotions, and if the sources around you are making you stressed, try to put them on ‘mute’ for now. If you are following people on social media or are friends with people who make you feel pressured all the time, maybe ‘mute’ these triggers during times of stress. Instead, watch TV shows that send more positive messages, and surround yourself with friends that don’t remind you of what’s stressing you out. Once you fix this, you will be able to have a happy environment, which will help you during this stressful time!

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So, there are my tips to stay calm during exam season. I hope they helped and just remember, you have got this!

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