Most students experience some degree of exam stress, whether it is because they haven’t done enough studying or their course is tougher than they expected. Short bursts of stress are good for us, but in the long-term, stress causes all kinds of physical problems and if left untreated, it will make you very ill indeed. You can’t always avoid exam stress, but there are ways to combat its effects – and here’s how.
Learn to Spot the Signs
Stress causes all kinds of physical symptoms, not all of which are immediately apparent. We are all affected differently by stress, but sleep problems are common amongst stressed students. You may also be having issues with your diet, such as eating too much or not enough. Skin problems, hair falling out, persistent infections and vague aches and pains are all common symptoms of stress caused by exams. You know your body better than anyone, so if you are feeling under the weather, consider whether stress is the root cause.
Reduce Your Workload
Without dropping out of college completely, which would be a bad move, it is difficult to cut back on your workload without risking an exam fail. However, what you can do is talk to your tutors to see if there is any way to alleviate some of the pressure.
Online courses are less stressful in this regard, since study is more flexible. For example, an online criminal justice program from Portland University is less stressful than an identical course because you can study in your own time, so if you want to pursue a criminal justice degree but you are prone to stress, look for an online course instead.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is vital. The less sleep you have, the harder it will be to cope with stress. It is probably tempting to pull an all-nighter when you have exams coming up, but you won’t retain the information if you do. Instead, get an early night, especially the night before a major exam. You will feel refreshed and more able to cope with the stress.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Our diet often goes to put when we are stressed out over exams. Instead of preparing healthy meals and snacks, we live on junk food because it’s quick and easy. This is a huge mistake. Junk food contains very little nutritional value and your health will suffer. Try to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can. High protein foods are good for energy and oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are good for normal brain function.
Stop Putting So Much Pressure on Yourself
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Passing exams is not the be all and end all of life. It might feel as if you are a failure if you don’t get the right grades, but maybe it is the kick you need to look into alternative careers, ones where you will be a lot happier and less stressed at the same time.