Five tips for stress-free exams

Dec 16, 2009
Five tips for stress-free exams
It's exam time and for many students, that means long days, late nights and lots of coffee. It's easy to let the anxiety get to you; so what can you do to cope with exam tension?

(PhysOrg.com) -- It's exam time, and for many students that means long days, late nights and lots of coffee. It's easy to let the anxiety get to you, so what can you do to cope with exam tension?

"Stress is normal, it's a natural response to the demands that are placed on you," says Kathy Patterson, health educator at the McMaster University's Campus Health Centre. "But negative stress - that which prevents you from focusing or maintaining a - can be quite harmful."

Signs that you are too stressed can range from physical symptoms, such as head and muscle aches, to emotional and behavioural symptoms, such as eating too much or too little and feeling irritable. They can also include difficulty concentrating, and disorganization.

Patterson has five tips to help combat negative stress and ensure you have the best chance at acing your exams:

1)Study smart - Cramming is a sure way to send anxiety through the roof, and you generally don't gain much from last minute studying. If you don't understand your course material, get help from a classmate or talk with your professor. "Time management is key," says Patterson. "Structure your study time, set priorities and prepare study notes."

2)Catch some Z's - Sleep has major effects on learning, memory and efficiency, but it's often overlooked during season. Be sure to get between seven and eight hours of rest each night, and avoid common sleep stealers: caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

3) Eat right - There is a link between food and , but most people find their eating habits worsen during times of tension. "The brain doesn't store glucose, so we need to eat to keep it running effectively," says Patterson, who recommends maintaining a well-balanced diet, keeping hydrated and making breakfast a priority.

4) Exercise - It's hard enough to keep up an exercise regimen at the best of times, let alone during exams, but physical activity can actually help reenergize the body and keep you from burning out. Patterson recommends anything that gets you moving: going to the Pulse, jogging, dancing or organizing a game of pickup hockey or basketball.

5) Take some "me" time - It's easy to forget about yourself when you're trying to memorize the periodic table, but you can't neglect your own needs. Take a few minutes to listen to music, take a walk or watch that hilarious video on YouTube. "Laughter is your body's natural stress-release mechanism," says Patterson. "It relaxes your muscles, helps you breathe deeper and lowers your blood pressure."

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

More information: There are a number of useful resources on campus that can help you de-stress. The Campus Health Centre offers free access to yoga, pilates and meditation videos, the Centre for Student Development is available for personal and academic counseling as well as disability support and the Chaplaincy Centre is running an exam drop-in every night during the exam period in MUSC 230, complete with free cookies and warm drinks.

The story has originally appeared at dailynews.mcmaster.ca/ .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One-third of Americans lose sleep over economy

Mar 02, 2009

One-third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns, according to a new poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The poll suggests that inadequate ...

Don't Stress About De-Stressing

Apr 30, 2008

Many people experience the feeling of being overwhelmed. Common sources of stress include losing a set of keys, being late to important meetings, and tackling stacks of paperwork. Many people believe the last thing they have ...

Brisk walk could help chocoholics stop snacking

Nov 11, 2008

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a walk of just fifteen minutes can reduce chocolate cravings. The benefits of exercise in helping people manage dependencies on nicotine and other drugs ...

Stress may leave your mouth a mess

Aug 08, 2007

A literature review published in the August issue of the Journal of Periodontology saw a strong relationship between stress and periodontal diseases; 57% of the studies included in the review showed a positive relationship betwee ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0