Stress and study seem to go hand in hand and yet nothing makes retaining information harder than stress! So how do you prepare for finals, remain calm and most importantly get the results you want? Follow our tips of course…..
Prepare! Obviously the more we study the better we will do but it also helps to make plan for the months before exams.
•Break down the course in manageable parts for revision.
•Use summaries, notes, Mnemonics to help make the material memorable.
•Form a study group if you feel you’ll struggle to stay motivated alone.
•If you’ve fallen behind be realistic about what you can do in the time that you have left. Decide how best to use the time available.
•Break every 90min for 10-15 min. This allows you to recharge and return with increased energy.
•Take 10-15 min to relax daily. This means the effects of stress don’t have an opportunity to overload your mind/body.
•Studying all night before an exam is counter-productive as the lack of sleep will often mean concentration and retention is seriously reduced. It’s better to take 2-4 hours to review the material and get to bed early!
Maintain a regular schedule. Routine allows the body/mind to function to its optimum level so regularized sleep, meal times and study hours mean you get the most out of your day.
•Lack of sleep means we often only function at 50-70% capacity! It’s important to get enough hours of sleep and if possible to maintain a regular sleep pattern. For instance getting to bed at roughly the same time each night means that your body clock is maintained. This allows our body to work efficiently and aids concentration.
•Regular activity such as walking will help you sleep better, reduce stress and ultimately help you to study better.
•There’s always a temptation to eat on the run but a regular, balanced diet will support concentration and retention. Stopping for meals also allows you to chat with friends and take to relax during the day.
•Avoid drugs/alcohol! Though it may seem like a quick way to relax they can interrupt sleep and concentration and have a serious effect on emotional wellbeing.
•Use the support of family and friends. It helps to ground you and keep stressful time in perspective. This exam will pass and recognizing you can only do your best means you often perform better than if you’re overwhelmed with stress.
Test anxiety is the nervous response to upcoming exams. It can manifest as worry, fear, insomnia or struggle to focus.
As test anxiety goes unchecked it can begin to feel overwhelming causing real distress. We may actually perform poorly in exams as we struggle to focus and retain information. However with the correct support and approach test anxiety can be managed so follow this great presentation by the TWU Counseling Centre and banish test anxiety for good!!
Anonymous said: I think I might be depressed and I'm not sure where to start to try and get better. Any advice?
First, know that you are not alone. Depression is very common. Actually 1 in 7 people will experience depression at some point in their lives. Here is a list of common symptoms that might help you decide if you might be depressed or simply a little down.
- Finding it hard to get motivated and feel interested in things
- Wanting to avoid friends and everyday activities
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Losing interest in eating, or overeating
- Losing weight, without dieting, or gaining weight
- Finding it difficult to get to sleep, waking during the night, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep. Alternatively, wanting to sleep all the time.
- Thinking about, or planning suicide
- Having unpleasant, negative thoughts (like feeling guilty or that you are a bad or unworthy person)
- Getting pains in your body or headaches that don’t seem to have any physical cause
You can also take an anonymous online depression screening to see if you have some of the symptoms of depression.
Whether you are depressed or just feeling blue, it is important that you talk with someone. Each of the TWU campuses has a Counseling Center where you can receive 12 free sessions. You can also visit Student Health Services on the Denton campus or see your own healthcare provider.
Here is another good resource that might be of some help.
By asking for help you are at good starting point to feeling better.