How to Look After Yourself During Exams

Feb 18, 2020 by Mohsin Raza


When you are stressed, as is often the case around exams, your body will find it harder to fight off infections or to manage as normal. You need to give it all the help you can.

Make a Study Plan & Schedule In Time Off

Find the study times that work best for you and create a study timetable around that. If you work best in the daytime, treat your study schedule like a 9-5 job and down tools for the day at 5 pm to do something fun or de-stressing. If you find you work best in the evening time, then take the mornings for yourself and start working in the afternoon. Schedule in breaks throughout the day (every hour) and take this time to get out of the space you are studying, clear your head and rest.

Take Time To Do Things You Enjoy

Spending all day studying is not going to do you any favors, so make sure you are taking time to do things you enjoy. Read a book, watch Netflix, go for a walk (fresh air is always good), spend time with your friends. Taking this time out for yourself will help you to feel more focused during the time you are studying as you know some “me time” is on the horizon.


One of the most important things to get you through a stressful time the amount of sleep you’re getting. A good night’s sleep (aim for 8 hours) makes the world of difference to your mood and mental health as well as your focus during the day.

Katrina Conrad, assistant director for student well-being at the University of Notre Dame, says that pulling all-nighters is one of the biggest mistakes students make. “Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is critical for memory consolidation,” says Conrad. “Therefore, if you’re cutting your sleep, you could be adding a barrier to your own learning process.”

Ask for Help

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious about the upcoming exams, reach out and talk about it. There are so many people in the same boat as you, you are not alone in how you are feeling. Talk to a friend, family member or even a lecturer you can trust. If you feel you need more support, get in touch with the student counseling services on campus who are more than equipped to deal with these feelings at exam time.

Know Your Worth

Remember that your worth is not measured by the amount of work you do or some marks on a piece of paper. You can only do your best and at the end of the day, as overwhelming as they can be, exams are not the be-all and end-all. There is so much more to you as a person than the grades you get. Be kind to yourself and proud of yourself, you’re doing the best you can.


Nobody is suggesting that you should be spending every evening socializing during your study leave or exam period. At university or school, the chances are that most of your peers will also be doing exams, and will be similarly unsociable anyway. It is, however, a mistake to cancel your social life completely during exams. Everyone needs some ‘downtime’. For those who thrive on social situations, a quick trip to the pub may prove to be just the tonic you needed to get going again the next day. Those who prefer the company of just one or two friends may find it easier to spend a quiet hour or so chatting and recharging.

Practice Mindfulness & Meditation

Kick-starting your day with a short meditation session or mindfulness exercise puts you on the right road to productivity and memory recollection, as well as being great stress relievers and giving your mind a chance to recharge and refocus. If you have never tried mindfulness or meditation, there are lots of great apps to start off your journey by leading you through short, guided sequences.  The ultimate self-care is finding balance within life’s imbalance and being compassionate towards yourself. Taking the time to find your balance, especially in challenging or stressful times, demonstrates self-compassion.

Be Kind to Yourself

If a friend was having difficulties, we would react with support and kindness, but when we find ourselves in that situation, we don’t always show ourselves the same level of care. Calm your nerves once in a while with a deep breath and remind yourself of your many strengths. You deserve the support you give to others, and in fact, you need it to perform at your best. Do things that make you feel confident instead of increasing your fear of failure.


Keeping well is important at exam time and during study time. Looking after yourself through maintaining these few things in mind, is very important. Get them right your revision, study and exams will all be much easier.


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