Mental Health During Exam Period: How to Survive and Excel if You’re a Student

May 31, 2024 by Minerva Tutors,

The exam period can be a stressful time for students of all ages. The pressure to perform well, the hours of studying, and the fear of failure can take a toll on mental health. However, it is crucial to maintain a healthy mind to not only survive this period but to excel across it. 

Here are some strategies to help students manage their mental health during exam season.

Understanding the Pressure

Exams are a significant part of academic life, and it’s normal to feel anxious about them. However, understanding the source of this pressure is the first step to managing it. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, a moderate level of stress can actually enhance performance by increasing alertness and motivation. The key is to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming… 

So, let’s take a look.

Creating a Study Schedule

One of the most effective ways to manage stress is by creating a structured study schedule. This helps in breaking down the material into manageable chunks and ensures that students are not cramming all the information at the last minute.

According to research from the University of California, spacing out study sessions over a longer period is more effective than massed learning sessions. A well-planned schedule can reduce anxiety and improve retention.

Prioritising Self-Care

Maintaining good physical health is vital for mental well-being. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can significantly impact stress levels. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for adults, which can include activities like walking, cycling, or even gardening. 

Additionally, mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep-breathing exercises can help in reducing anxiety. Apps like Headspace and Calm offer guided meditation sessions that can be particularly beneficial during high-stress periods.

Staying Connected

Isolation can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. Staying connected with friends and family provides emotional support and a sense of belonging. A study from Harvard University found that social connections can improve mental health and even lengthen lifespan. 

Group study sessions can also be a way to reduce isolation and share knowledge.

Seeking Professional Help

If stress becomes unmanageable, it is important to seek professional help. Many schools and universities offer counselling services that can provide support and coping strategies. The Mental Health Foundation advises that talking to a counsellor or therapist can help students understand their emotions and develop strategies to manage stress. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Practical Exam Tips

Beyond managing stress, practical exam strategies can also help improve performance. Here are a few tips:

  1. Understand the Exam Format: 

Knowing the format of the exam can help reduce anxiety. Practise past papers to get a feel for the types of questions that may be asked.

  1. Stay Organised: 

Keep all study materials organised. Use folders, labels, and digital tools to ensure that notes and resources are easily accessible.

Check out our top tips for creating a productive study environment

  1. Take Regular Breaks: 

The Pomodoro Technique, which involves studying for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break, can help maintain focus and prevent burnout.

  1. Practice Self-Compassion: 

Be kind to yourself. Understand that perfection is not the goal, and making mistakes is part of the learning process.

Managing mental health during exam periods is crucial for academic success and overall well-being. By creating a structured study schedule, prioritising self-care, staying connected with loved ones, and seeking professional help when needed, students can navigate this challenging time with resilience and confidence. Remember, exams are just one part of the educational journey, and maintaining a healthy mind is essential for long-term success.

At Minerva Tutors, we understand the pressures that come with academic challenges. Our expert tutors are here to support students through personalised tuition and mentoring, ensuring they not only survive but excel during their exam periods. For more information on how we can help, feel free to get in touch.

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