Top 10 tips to help you ease exam-stress

If you take studying at least a little seriously, these past weeks haven’t been the most fun for you. Whether you’re a born planner or leave everything to the last minute, exam-related anxiety has found you and made you lose sleep/your temper/your mind. Hopefully, the following tips will be helpful for the final push before your finals.

1. Eat healthy, drink plenty. This advice is as old as time itself, but we cannot emphasise how important it is. Make sure your water intake is sufficient and neglect coffee and tea as much as possible (even though they seem tempting) as high doses of caffeine can mess with your natural biorhythm. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetable is a must! Typical “brain foods” are bananas, various nuts and fish that boost your concentration levels.

2. Get enough sleep. We know it’s hard to resist staying up all night studying for your exam but it is definitely not a long-term solution. Instead, try to go to bed at a reasonable time (without your laptop and/or phone) and get some proper rest. You’ll notice, it’s much easier to remember the material with a fresh mind!

3. Exercise. You probably think that you simply don’t have enough hours in the day, and time dedicated to sports is the first to fall when it comes to cutting out activities for the sake of revision. However, exercise boosts your energy levels and is a great way to get your mind off of the exams for a while. It also gets you moving in-between the long periods of sitting which is better for your health.

4. Nature helps. After a tough day at the library you might just want to go home, start watching a film on your laptop and fall asleep. Unfortunately, that might not help you feel relaxed at all. Instead, why not go out for a walk or a cycle around the quiet parts of Utrecht to breathe in some fresh air and get detached from all the buzz? That way you also get your daily exercise.

5. Schedule/plan. A lot of students make the mistake of assuming that there will be loads of time for revision. Even if it’s true, coming up with a revision plan is probably the most useful thing for your preparation. Having a written schedule with deadlines helps you keep track of your process and gives you extra motivation.

6. Keep balance – stay social. Many of us are tempted to cut out all unnecessary social activities until exams are over to focus better. However, isolating yourself isn’t the best way to go. We all need support every now and then, and blowing off some steam between hard-core study sessions is crucial. Grabbing a drink with friends is probably more beneficial for you than you think.

7. Study with friends. Linking to our previous point, group revision sessions are a great way to ease stress a little. Not only do you spend some time with your friends, but you might realise that you’re experts of different fields so you can help each other. Moreover, realising that others aren’t doing so much better is always reassuring. 😉

8. Set reasonable goals. Naturally, we all want to pass exams with flying colours. However, if you have additional responsibilities like committees or a part-time job, you need to face reality and prioritize your time accordingly. There is no point in setting unrealistic goals that will put you under immense unnecessary pressure. Instead, focus on what you can achieve and do you best in line with those objectives!

9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is probably something you’ve heard a million times but there’s really sense in it. Nobody will know that you’re struggling if you don’t say a word. During your revision you should prepare some questions and ask anyone who might know more about the topic: your teachers, tutors, classmates, people from the year above, anyone really. Remember: those who ask questions are dumb, but those who do not will remain dumb.

10. Find out what works for you. Sure, all these pieces of advice are great and work for the majority of the people, as do various famous revision techniques. We do advise you to refrain from forcing yourself to stick with certain tips just because you read them somewhere. Do a self-check and figure out what’s best for you, even if it’s something completely different from the norm.

We hope that you could get some inspiration from these tips. Do you have any other advice for your fellow students? Please share them with us in the comment section!

We wish you all success and best of luck for the upcoming week!

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