MATRIC exam tip: if you struggle with a topic, make sure you ask for help
MATRIC exam tip: if you struggle with a topic, make sure you ask for help

Keep your mental health in check during exam time

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Nov 4, 2021

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You might experience stress because you are worried about how well you will do in the exam. Research shows high levels of exam stress can interfere with attention and reduce working memory, leading to lower performance.

Early experiences of anxiety and stress can also set a precedent for mental health problems in adulthood. Exam stress can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s important to manage this stress and find coping strategies that work for you, to eliminate the risk of burn-out.

Here are six tips that be could of help:

1. Take regular breaks

Even the most intense exam timetables should allow a little time for study breaks. These can take the form of 20-minute breaks during the course of your revision days, and should also include longer activities that you can look forward to and use as a motivating reward. Spending a little time away from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed the next time you revise.

2. Exercise and get outdoors

Adding a bit of exercise to your day will do you a world of good physically and mentally. Besides keeping you healthy, exercise is known to boost your mood and can help to make you more productive while revising. Remember to abide by lockdown regulations when going out to exercise.

3. Limit caffeine

Caffeine and energy drinks can give you a short lift. But they’re not good for you in the long term. You will study better with regular breaks and a decent amount of sleep.

4. Don’t (always) listen to others

While it is helpful to discuss topics with fellow students and often to revise together, try not to compare other peoples’ revision to your own. Chances are you’re doing just fine, and listening to other people talk about what they’ve learnt will only stress you out and may make you feel like you aren’t progressing as well as them.

5. Speak to someone

If the stress gets to a point where it is overwhelming, and is affecting your day-to-day life, speak to someone about it. Your school should have a service where you can speak to people about your concerns, and will offer more advice on how to manage it. You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.

6. Look after yourself

It’s easy to let exams get on top of you and to forget to look after yourself. If possible, try to get a good night’s sleep every night. It’s a good time to make an effort to eat healthily, making sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.


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