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As the start of the semester kicks off, you may be focusing ahead on one thing – exams. The idea of exam season being only a few weeks away has already made my anxiety rise. Thinking of how the questions will be, how long the time limit is and even just the content on the exam has already got me stressed for weeks to come. If you can relate to any of the following statements, take a deep breath with me. Exam season may be on its way, but hopefully with these tips we can conquer any exam anxiety we’ll face. 

make Sure you’re getting enough Rest

I know it sounds cliche, but rest is so important! I’ll be the first to say that since being back at school, my caffeine intake has already begun to spike. Whether it’s an iced coffee from Dunkin’, a latte from Starbucks or just an energy drink from my fridge, caffeine is what pushes me through the day. However, sometimes too much caffeine takes away from the amount of rest you can get, and we all know that getting good rest is key. A good night’s sleep has not only helped me with studying and exams, but also has eased my anxiety. Racing thoughts is a major part of anxiety, which means that rest and sleep allows those thoughts to stop even for just a few hours. Sometimes even though you want to get a late night study session in, prioritizing your sleep may have the better benefit. Let’s be honest, studying for hours on end, especially into the wee hours of the night right before your exam is not the best idea. A good night’s rest equals a brain ready to take on any exam questions!

Make the Most out of your studying

Studying, even though it seems easy, can be hard at times. Whether it’s trying to figure out where you should study, what material you should be studying or even the best time to study, there are a few different factors that come with studying. When planning out your study time, make sure you are able to pick the best place and time where you can study without any distractions. One of my favorite spots is the fourth floor of Hillman Library. The fourth floor is the quiet studying floor, which makes it the best place to study without anything too distracting happening around you. I find it best to study during the evening since I’m more of a night owl than an early bird, so I feel the most focused. Finding the best study time allows more productive studying to get done!

Take Some Deep Breaths

You’ve heard it before, but honestly focusing on my breathing has helped me a lot when it comes to my most anxious moments. When worrying about exams and tests, my anxiety is at its worst the day before the exam and all of the minutes leading up to its start. The idea of deep breathing seems to be overused to some, but it actually has its benefits. Deep breathing not only slows your heart rate down, but has also helped ease my mind. Just taking a few moments to focus on yourself and not the exam allows your mind to rest just before putting it to work. You can find a bunch of different breathing techniques or exercises, but don’t think that you have to do something complicated. Just a simple exercise of breathing in with your nose for five seconds and out with your mouth for the same time can do just the trick! 

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself 

It’s a given that everyone wants to do their best when it comes to school, especially during exam season. Having classes where the only assignments are a midterm and a final create even more pressure on a student to do well. The idea of your final grade being affected by only two assignments gives me an incredible amount of anxiety. I get especially anxious about my grades. Whether it’s putting pressure on myself to get a certain grade on a test, quiz or even my final grade, the added pressure doesn’t help my anxiety, it only makes it worse. I know it’s hard to not put pressure on ourselves in the world of college, but just try to be understanding and nice to yourself. Yes, everyone wants to get a good grade on their midterms and finals, but it’s okay if you don’t. As long as you’re trying your best and putting your best foot forward, that’s all that matters. Remember, grades don’t always define us. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Whether you’re in high school or college, talking to your teacher can be a rather daunting task. However, asking your professor for help or any questions you might have about the material is probably one of the best resources to use. Office hours are such a key way to reach out to your professor, especially if you are having trouble with any of the material. Or if you’re in a rather big class, you can always reach out to your TA. Asking for help not only shows your professors how seriously you are taking the class, but also is a way for them to get to know you on a more personal level. I know it’s scary, but trust me it will be worth it in the end!  

Anxiety is hard, trust me I know, especially when it comes to school. Exams are scary sometimes, and can make your anxiety even higher. Hopefully, these tips can help you out when exam season comes, or even spark some different ideas of your own! 

Serena is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh who is majoring in English Writing with minors in Creative Writing and Legal Studies. When she's not writing short stories for class, Serena loves to write for HC Pitt, listen to music, and watch Jersey Shore!
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