"Organisation is vital, but you can break things down"Leoni Boyle

The holidays are flying by and I can no longer pretend that my exams are a long way off! I’m already feeling very stressed and I’m worried that it will only get worse. Do you have any advice for how I can feel more calm and prepared?

It’s got to that point in the Easter holidays when exams can no longer be ignored. Wherever they’re at in their education, students across the country are starting to feel the pressure of this coming term. It’s perhaps particularly daunting this year, as it’s been such a long time since exam terms could happen with any hint of ‘normality’. That being said, the first thing I want to do is to reassure you that you have absolutely got this.

“Make dinner plans as well as essay plans”

Something that we can all be guilty of is setting our exams up as a huge, looming point in our future — unfortunately, this doesn’t help. Get those dates in your diary so that you know what you’re doing and when, but then put them to the back of your mind. Organisation is vital, but you can break things down and take everything a week at a time. Allow yourself to focus on what you need to do in a particular week without worrying about what’s coming next; you know that whatever it is is in your calendar and you’ve got it sorted.

When you’re doing all this scheduling, make sure that you’re setting aside time for breaks. You can make dinner plans as well as essay plans. You’re working hard and you deserve a treat! Making an effort to get away from your desk and socialise will offer you a much needed reminder that there is life beyond your exams.

“You did once actually like your subject”

Try not to worry if you’re feeling as though you can’t switch off, and you’re constantly finding yourself talking about your work with your friends. Discussing your ideas in a more fun context might help you to remember that you did once actually like your subject.


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Of course, you may not always feel up to having to talk to actual humans after a long day of staring at your notes. While you have a bit of time before term begins, it is definitely worth working out what it is that relaxes you. You may not feel up to chatting in the evening, but perhaps you will feel like cooking, knitting, painting, dancing, singing, running — whatever floats your boat. You might feel more relaxed already, knowing that you’ve made the effort to set up moments of calm before the panic of term even begins.

So, it’s time to go and make whatever preparations you feel are necessary. Remember that once your exams are over, this will be a term full of fun and that you have so much to look forward to. Good luck!

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