Top tips for staying calm during exam season
by Kevin McCarthy, on 14/06/18 12:01
The June bank holiday weekend is something we all look forward to. For some it was a 4-day weekend which was celebrated in the glorious sun we were fortunate to have, but for others it signals the beginning of exam season. The Junior & Leaving Certificate both begin on the first Wednesday after the June bank holiday weekend. For those sitting the Junior Certificate, its the first taste of sitting a state exam, and for those sitting the Leaving Certificate, it’s the taste of freedom…. (Almost!).
With these exams, comes the pressure that individuals will put on themselves to succeed and stress can begin to set in. During exam season, stress is natural. While you are studying for one exam, your mind may already be thinking about the next exam. Don’t panic if you are beginning to stress. Instead look at ways you can stay calm and not feel totally overwhelmed.
1. Take Study Breaks:
We are all guilty of trying to fit as much information into our heads as we can while studying, but how much of that information are we retaining? From overexerting ourselves, we feel fatigued and start to lose all interest. A way of combating this is to schedule regular breaks. For every 30minutes you study, grant yourself a 5-10-minute break, keep your mind fresh. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, don’t worry! It’s only natural. Take a quick 10-minute walk to relax yourself.
2. Make sure you are getting enough sleep:
You may think late nights and cramming is the best way approach your exams, but a lack of sleep will hamper your ability to retain the information you have studied the night before. Instead develop a study plan around your sleep, and ensure you are getting at least 8-10 hours’ sleep. By doing so you will begin to feel you have more energy and a clearer mind when it comes to studying.
3. Eat the right foods:
When it comes to exam season, some tend to neglect nutrition and just grab ‘On the go’ foods which are high in sugar and fat etc, while others tend to eat very little because they want to use every spare minute towards study. By having a nutritious meal, you are giving your body the nutrients it needs. You will feel more energised and able to continue studying for longer.
4. Treat yourself:
With the exam approaching and the hard work done, treat yourself the day before the exam. Allow yourself time off and do something that is special to you.
- Call a friend.
- Go to the cinema.
- A nice walk with friends.
- Listen to your favourite music.
By allowing yourself this treat, you are giving yourself an emotional-pick me up which is needed around exam season.
5. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
Partaking in exercise such as walking, going to the gym, playing a sport, going for a cycle etc, will help you destress and remain calm. Exercise is a great way of blowing off steam and clearing your mind. During exam season, a clear mind and less stress will help you to study better.
6. Caffeine is not the solution:
Many believe when it comes to exams that coffee and cans upon cans of energy drinks is the best way to stay focused and awake. Too much caffeine will in fact increase your stress and ability to focus. Pace yourself when it comes to your caffeine intake, yes caffeine can give you an energy spike but too much in your system and you will crash and become fatigued and unable to study or concentrate.
7. Implement supplements into your diet:
Zenflore® provides natural support during busy and demanding times helping to support a healthy mind and combat stress-related fatigue.1,2 It has been clinically studied in people with everyday stress and shown to reduce the level of our stress hormone, cortisol. 3 This natural culture increases the activity in the parts of the brain correlated with an improved ability to handle stress3. The B vitamins in Zenflore also help support your energy and vitality4, so keep the capsules on your bedside locker with a reminder on your phone to take it every day!
8. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Now it may feel like your back is against the wall, but remember that exam season does not last forever. You will make it through these exams and any other exams in the future. All the hard work is done and all you can give it is your best. Just remain positive. As they say, ‘Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success’.
1. Biotin, Folate, Niacin, Thiamine, B6, B12: Contributes to normal psychological function.
2. Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, B6 and B12: Contributes to reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
3. Bifidobacterium longum 1714 as a translational psychobiotic: modulation of stress, electrophysiology and neurocognitive in healthy volunteers. Allen et al., Transl Psychiatry, 2016
4. Biotin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine, B6 and B12: contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism.