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Tackling exam stress

Words by 1st year International Development student, Laura McClintock. 

Exams and deadlines may be a source of stress, worry and anxiety for some. Nevertheless, there are things we can do to relax during this time to maximise our potential and minimise the impact on our well-being. 


  1. Take off some pressure by adjusting your mentality. The majority of the year is behind usmost of the work has been done. Remind yourself of this to take some pressure off yourself and trust that you know your stuff. 
  1. Work smart. Furiously reading chunks of text all day long (or night) is going to exhaust you and probably stress you out more. Find out the key pieces of information you need to know and focus on them. 
  1. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is essential during exams, as it is when our body restores the immune system and regulates cortisol levels (stress hormones), as well as processing information into long-term memory. Taking cat naps throughout the day can be really beneficial if you’re not able to sleep enough at night. 
  1. Eat a nutritious diet. Whilst being healthy is probably not a priority during exam season, it is so important to eat enough wholesome food to keep your brain functioning when you need it the most. Having a small stock of wholesome foods at home that you can grab and make with little effort is essential. Some ideas: instant oats, frozen fruit and veg, dried fruits and nuts, pasta with veg, whole-wheat toast and peanut butter, microwave rice and pre-made veg, lentils, beans or chicken. 


Hopefully these tips will give you some motivation to take care of yourself during exams. Making the effort to keep on top of your basic needs will alleviate some stress and enhance your academic performance. Remember, whilst exams are an important aspect of your degree, your health comes first! 

About Taz Usher

Print Editor of The Spark Newspaper.

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