Looking after your mental health during the exam period
Exam season can be very stressful, and it is really important to manage your time well, but primarily take care of yourself. Here are a few tips to help you de-stress and prepare for the exams in the most effective way.
Plan your time (and do not forget to schedule breaks)
Planning is crucial to successful revision, but also for your mental and physical wellbeing during stressful periods. Having a detailed plan created ahead of time can take away the anxiety and pressure of daily planning. It also makes tasks more manageable and allows you to add regular breaks throughout your day, giving your brain well-deserved time off, improving memory, and further enhancing your performance. Studies have shown that taking breaks reduces stress and helps to maintain consistent performance. If the schedule is balanced and you can stick to it, you will thank yourself later.
Study in ways that work for you
When designing your study schedule, you may want to plan not only when, but also how and where you study. There is no right or wrong method, we are all individuals so it is important to find a method that works for you. Think about what worked for you in the past, and how you can apply this method to current assignment or exam preparation. Try to implement active learning: test yourself on the material as you write and revise and try to explain the topic to your friends. You can also set up study groups with your course mates or schedule an online discussion on the topics of past papers. When it comes to the study space, do not be afraid to switch things up a little. You can alter, for example, between your house, campus spaces, taking your readings outdoors, or sitting in an outdoor café.
Sleep is vital for your well-being. When we are stressed and the deadlines are approaching we tend to sacrifice sleep in favour of cramming some last-minute revising. The impact of sleep deprivation is detrimental to your overall health and the lack of sleep will certainly catch up to you. Being sleep deprived reduces one’s ability to learn and memorise effectively – something we would all rather avoid during the exam period. Make sure to factor in at least 7 hours of good night sleep into your daily routine, and if needed, schedule naps in between the tasks on the days you know you will not be able to get uninterrupted sleep.
If you’re feeling stressed and can’t focus, take a break, and get some fresh air outside. Studies show that we are better able to concentrate after being in nature. Even a 15 minute-long walk outside can make all the difference. Walking is relaxing, can improve your mood, help clear your head, and accelerate your creative thinking. With lockdown restrictions being eased in England, we can begin to socialise a bit more freely – use this opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of your friends, even if it is just for 30 minutes. If the weather does not encourage you to step outside your front door, open the windows and let some fresh air in, and remember to get outside once the sun is shining again.
Ask for help
If you feel overwhelmed do not be afraid to ask for help from your friends, course mates, or from the university. One option is to set up a study group with your course mates, so you can discuss ideas and hold each other accountable during revision. LSE also offers many helpful services, such as LSE Life who offer workshops, as well as one-to-one sessions through the Summer Term to help you prepare. If you feel like you could use some confidential advice, the Student Counselling Service is free for all students. If you are feeling down, please schedule a visit with them.
If you run into some unforeseen circumstances that are going to (or do) have an impact on your performance in an assessment, LSESU Advice Service can advise you on deferrals and/or how to submit exceptional circumstances claim.
Good luck with your revision and exams! Remember that this stress is temporary, and soon you will be able to relax and celebrate all your achievements this academic year!
Blog written by Dani Gruszka.
Dani works as an Advice Assistant in the LSESU Advice Team.
The LSESU Advice Team
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we will not be on campus for Summer Term. However, we are still open and can instead be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.