How to Reduce Stress During the Exams

It’s the week of exams and many of you are probably feeling pretty stressed. Whether it’s the accounting exam that you just don’t get, the marketing exam with too much information or the one retake you have feared all period. Possibly one of the best ways to improve your grade at the last minute is to reduce your stress because not only does it influence studying negatively, it also worsens your performance at the exams. In this blog, we will look at ways to reduce stress during the three stages of the exam week.

Study smart, not more

When you have a lot of material to study it can sometimes be difficult to find an overview of what and how much to study. To reduce stress, try to divide the material into small segments such as single chapters. Then learn these one at a time and reward yourself with a break (or some food) after every step. Remember most people can only effectively concentrate for about 45 minutes so your segments should not take much longer. Try to plan 2 or 3 days in advance, this is a time frame you can oversee. When you are done for the day, stop. Don’t worry when you see peers still studying, because of the fact that you have time to relax shows you are ahead of them.

Take a real break

If at all possible, taking a real break from studying will drastically reduce stress and thereby increase your performance at the exam. Remember, your brain needs time to process everything you have learned, so sleep enough and take breaks. Preferably half a day or at least during a couple of hours, try doing something that is not at all related to university. Go out for dinner with friends or family, spend some time exercising or go to the spa. In truth, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes your mind off studying and university. Of course, this only works beneficially if you have the feeling you are not procrastinating, so make sure to plan in advance, so you know you are on track and can truly relax.

The exam

When the time of the exam finally comes around, don’t talk about the subject with your peers and don’t try to do last minute reading. All this will do is confuse you and create more stress. When you are handed the exam, and you don’t understand the first question, do not get stressed out. Exams are long and the first questions are by no means representative for the entire exam. Make sure to divide your time according to the number of points a question is worth and think of how many points you already have, not how many you have missed. We feel losses more than gains but during exams, you must not let this trick you. Have confidence in your own ability and your results will reflect this!

One final tip, after the exam, do not discuss or talk about it if you have other subjects to learn for. The exam is the end of the course and there is no need to stress about it anymore. In the end, there is no magic answer to reducing stress but we hope some of these tips will help!

As you have read, it is very important to take breaks when you are studying to clear your head. We have found the perfect places to do this! Check out our blog: Take a break in and around the VU!