Top 10 tips to manage exam stress

Relieving stress

Exams and assessments can be stressful so we’ve pulled together ten top tips to help you beat the exam anxiety.

1.       Plan your time

Set out a plan which tells you what topic you’re going to be revising each day and stick to it. It will set your mind at ease knowing that you’ve allocated enough time to cover all the topics that may come up in the exam.

2.       Prepare

As hard as you might try, an entire semester’s worth of notes can’t be crammed into a few days before the exam. You’ll feel less stressed if you start early and are more prepared for the exam.

3.       Set aside distractions

Turn off your phone, or even put it in a different room. Keep away from the TV and avoid getting side-tracked on the internet. Revision will take a lot longer and you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere if you keep getting distracted.

4.       Take breaks

Get up and stretch your legs, take in some fresh air or move to a different spot in the room – You’ll feel more focused when you sit back down to revise. Revision breaks can be as long or short as you need (e.g. revise for 30 minutes and break for 5 mins). Just stick to whatever works for you.

5.       Eat healthily

This is all about balance – Make sure you’re eating enough of the good foods and not too many of the bad ones. Also, drinking plenty of water will keep you feeling awake and refreshed. To find out about healthy eating visit the NHS Choices website.

6.       Reward yourself

It’s important to remember that revision doesn’t mean you have to totally stop doing the things you enjoy. Making some time to relax during your day will help you feel less anxious and can help to make your revision sessions more productive.

7.       Get enough sleep

This is important in the run up to your exams but especially the night before the exam. Getting enough sleep will make sure you’re at your best on the day of the exam. Just remember to set your alarm!

8.       Take regular exercise

This is a great way to combat stress; if your body feels better so will your mind. Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural pain killers – which in turn will encourage a better sleep pattern. Don’t forget that we’re offering free access to Sport Liverpool from Monday, 14 January for two weeks between 7-11am and 2-4pm. To register for free access, please complete this registration form. To book onto classes, please contact the Sport Liverpool Reception on 0151 7943307.

9.       Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

Extra support is available, particularly if you feel you are suffering from more than a bout of exam nerves. The following are some useful contact details for University support services that are all free and confidential to access all year round:

  • There is a daily Wellbeing Drop-In at the Alsop Building on University Square, staffed by our Wellbeing Advisers. During the exam period, the drop-in will be available 11am-3pm. If you need some advice or support about welfare or wellbeing, please come along to a drop-in session for practical and pastoral support. You don’t need to book – simply come along to the Student Welfare Advice and Guidance Information Point on the ground floor of the Alsop Building.
  • University Counselling Service: The Counselling Service is available to help you address personal or emotional problems that get in the way of realising your full academic and personal potential. It offers free and confidential advice to students.
  • Mental Health Advisory Service: If you feel concerned that you or a friend may have more complex mental health needs, then you can contact the Mental Health Advisory Service via email(mhas@liverpool.ac.uk) or by calling 0151 7942320 between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday.
  • SilverCloud free online self-help modules: Space from Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Space for Positive Body Image are online self-help modules that you can complete for free. The programme – which is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – will provide you with tools and techniques to help you manage stress, anxiety and depression and bring balance into your life. You can complete the programme at your own pace and time, either at home or on campus. Please note that neither your response to, nor your progress within, any of the modules within this programme are monitored by the Counselling Service or the University.
  • Big White Wall: Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service that provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors. Big White Wall provides a safe space online to get things off your chest, explore your feelings and learn how to improve and self-manage your mental health and wellbeing. Big White Wall is totally anonymous, so no one will know you’ve chosen to use it unless you tell them. More than three quarters of members feel better as a result of using the service and nearly 90% use Big White Walloutside of 9am-5pm. You can get support via the service at any time of the day or night, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Bibliotherapyresources: There is strong evidence to suggest that books can be effective as a form of self-help and this collection has been chosen by both healthcare professionals and readers who have benefited from them. Emotional and academic difficulties can be a common part of university life and this collection aims to provide information and support for dealing with a wide range of issues such as depression, anxiety, panic, building self-confidence and assertiveness. You can access the bibliotherapy collection in the Grove Wing of the Sydney Jones Library. The titles are listed on the Counselling Service website or can be accessed by searching the main library catalogue using subject words such as ‘anxiety’. Borrowing is confidential and information about your use of these books will not be disclosed to any outside parties.
  • Relaxation Programme: The Relaxation Programme is available to stream and download and is designed to be used with a self-assessment relaxation diary. The programme can be downloaded here.
  • Self Help Hub online: Access information about anxiety, depression, exam and academic worries, relationship problems, homesickness and bereavement.

There are also regular groups and workshops run by the Counselling Service. A list of other support networks you can access can be found on our Counselling Service webpages here, including The Samaritans who offer a 24-hour helpline (116 123), the Students Against Depression website, and Liverpool Light – a mental health café that provides a welcoming and safe space for people experiencing mental health related crisis. The service is run by trained mental health support staff and operates from 6pm to 12pm, seven days a week, offering an alternative to the use of A&E for people at times of crisis or in need of targeted social support out of hours.

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, please call the police or ambulance service on 999.

The University is continuing to invest in mental health and wellbeing support for students and has recently recruited a new team of wellbeing advisers, two additional mental health advisers, an additional disability adviser and will soon be recruiting a CBT Therapist and additional counsellors to enhance our central services.

10.   Stay positive

A little bit of self-belief goes a long way.  With the right frame of mind and a positive attitude you’ll achieve more than you thought possible.

 

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