When you're a student, assessment time can be a particularly stressful time. Here are some ways you can help yourself be as prepared as possible:

Take the time to plan

  • Prepare a study plan and goals for each day/week. Make sure it's balanced with other important things in your life - that way it will be easier to stick to.

  • If you're working as well, talk to your employer early to let them know you need to limit your shifts/hours while studying.

  • Create a study space that is comfortable, quiet, well lit, organised, and has no distractions nearby, such as a TV, phone, people talking, etc.

  • Make sure you have everything you need for each study session as this helps to feel more confident and organised.

Look after yourself

  • Self-care is especially important when you have a big demand in your life - that way you have the energy to commit to what you need to accomplish.

  • Build activities you enjoy and that bring your stress levels down into your study plan, such as sport, spending time with friends, the internet, etc.

  • Don't get hungry before or while studying. Grab nutritional snacks that keep you going, such as fruit/nuts/dairy, etc.

  • Remember to get some exercise every day as this helps you to keep focused and energetic.

Rest when you need to

  • Work out what times of day you have the most energy and plan to study then.

  • Don't study for more than 40-60 mins without a short break. Even a 5-minute break will help. A glass of water helps too!

  • When you have a break do something physical or fun, such as go for a short run or play with a pet.

  • Try to keep your focus on school and exams rather than other stuff happening in your life; you don't need this extra worry around relationships, friendships etc. right now.

  • Relaxation is important, especially before bed, to slow brain activity down. Try some slow, deep breathing, a shower or a bath, herbal tea etc.

  • Learn more about sleeping well.

Stay focused

  • Say "no" to parties during the weeks close to the exams. This will help to keep you refreshed and energised.

  • When studying, switch your phone and email off to limit distractions.

  • Try to keep a focus on your health and wellbeing by not using things like drugs or alcohol; they can make it much harder to study.

Ask for help

  • Practise writing essays and show your teachers/tutors to gain feedback.

  • Ask teachers/tutors the best way to study for each subject; they have many years of experience they can share with you.

  • Some teachers/tutors are happy to be contacted during the time leading up to the exams. Find out which ones you can contact and make use of this if you need to.

  • If you have trouble approaching your own teacher/tutor for advice, talk to one of the other ones who are across the same subject.

  • Group study sessions can be a helpful and entertaining way of studying, but keep your focus on what you want to achieve with these sessions.

  • Talk about what you are studying with family members and friends as this helps to retain the info more, especially names and dates, etc.

Be prepared

  • Read/ write everything three times as this also helps to commit the info to memory.

  • Use your trial exam results to focus in on what you need to study.

  • Use previous exam papers to get a feel for what to expect.

  • Ask friends what they are doing that is helping with their study or friends who did it last year.

  • You need to study within 24 hours of the exam on that subject to retain more info.

  • Write things in coloured pen that you have trouble remembering (such as names and dates) and stick it on your toilet wall/door. Sounds funny, but it really works!

Day of the exam

  • Do your usual routine, for example, have what you normally eat for breakfast.

  • Take some water and a healthy snack (if allowed) to the exam.


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All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

Article originally published by Headspace.

Image by Jaeyoung Geoffrey Kang on Unsplash.

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