Coping with exams

studyingAFTER the excitement and relaxation of the Christmas holidays comes the stress of the January exams. It’s the time that many students dread with revision weighing heavy on people’s minds.  However, it doesn’t have to be so taxing, there are many activities and revision strategies to help students cope with this stressful period of the academic year.

For those willing to brave the winter elements, there are some relaxing walking and cycling routes around Aberystwyth which are perfect for that afternoon or weekend break from revision and exams. From the top of Constitution hill there is a lovely coastal path through Clarach to the nearby coastal town or Borth. Stretching 5 miles from Aberystwyth to Borth, the coastal path provides a relaxing walk which takes approximately 2 hours round trip. However, for those who only wish to walk one way, there is a regular train and bus service from Borth back to Aberystwyth. There are also many forest walks around the Aberystwyth area which are ideal for an afternoon’s walk or photographic opportunity.

Exams can cause a lot of stress and anxiety among most students. Experiencing stress and anxiety during this period of the academic year is normal, and there are many strategies to help you cope and to get yourself prepared for taking your exams. Being organised is key for working productively and efficiently during the lead up to taking the exam. Making sure you have all the information you can from the start, having an understanding how you will be examined and the layout of the exam and what you’ll be examined on can all help to put your mind at ease during revision.  Creating a time-table for revision that is realistic and flexible can help to structure and make the most of your revision time. Giving yourself clear priorities and balancing your revision with other demands as well as time to relax will help to keep you calm.

Finding a quiet, relaxed space to study is difficult, but it can make a huge difference to the efficiency of your work. If you find yourself getting distracted working at home with siblings or housemates around, try working in a space such as the library which provides an academic environment with few distractions.  During this semester one exam period, the library is open a further 2 hours, opening from 10 am- 8 pm at the weekend, 8:30-midnight Monday to Thursday and 8:30-21:30 on Fridays. With individual and group study areas it is a key facility to take advantage of. Keeping your living and working areas separate during this period can be a great advantage to your revision.

Being relaxed during revision and exams is key to achieving the best results. Breathing techniques are very useful when you feel like stress and anxiety is affecting your ability to work in the lead up to and in the exams. A simple relaxation routine of closing your eyes, breathing slowly and deeply and relaxing your muscles, can help to put your mind back into a calm and stable state to carry on working. Focusing on a happy place can also help to make you feel relaxed and in control.

Exams can be a lot for students to deal with and stress can really take its toll, but it doesn’t have to be this difficult. The University offer a great support system for students when things feel like they are getting too much to cope with. The University Student Support is a great department to turn to for help. Offering guidance with stress, revision and any exam requirements that may be necessary, Student Support are ideal to turn to when help is needed. They offer a range of courses and services including techniques in academic writing, information management and revision and exams. The University Website offers lots of information for the services available through Student Support. The Student Wellness Centre is also a key facility for students to take advantage of during this time. Offering services relating to general health, counselling and mental health, they are there to support students through this time to ensure that physical and mental health and well-being is cared for. With a confidential service, they can offer advice on issues such as stress, anxiety and mental health issues.  To make an appointment, students can telephone or contact the Wellness Centre by email ([email protected] / Tel: 01970 622087).

Exams do not have to be as stressful  as many believe and experience them to be. Aberystwyth has much to offer students during exams periods from physical and mental support to stress busting activities and a change of scenery for revision. Organisation, relaxation time, stress coping and breathing techniques are all important to cope with the revision and exams.