Exam time is stressful for everyone; long days, longer nights, endless readings and pages of illegible notes (when did my writing start to look like a five year olds?!?). It might seem like Winter Break will never come, but there is hope! Here are tips to survive exam season and hopefully reduce your stress for your remaining time at Acadia.
- I cannot stress this enough: You need sleep. It may seem like a good idea to stay up all night before your 9am exam, but you will be more successful if you are well rested. According to the Sleep Foundation, not sleeping enough can lead to: higher likelihood of obesity, heart problems and diabetes, depression and other mental health issues as well as poor concentration and the inability to process and remember new information. Going to bed will do more for you than staying up all night and not even remember what you studied.
- Proper nutrition: Eating every 3-4 hours is recommended by dieticians, and it is especially important when studying. Studying using more energy (aka calories) than most people think; your brain will use up to three times more energy when studying than when going about daily life. Foods like nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, oatmeal, apples and protein (think chickpeas, fish, legumes, tofu) are all great study foods. Making meals ahead of time, if you live off-campus, and freezing is a good idea if you would rather study/sleep than prepare a meal.
- Take breaks: Staying at your books or computer screen for five hours nonstop will not improve your grade. Take time away from the computer screen (and your phone) and do something you enjoy. Take a walk through the Woodland Trails or treat yourself to a latte or pop down to the cat shelter and pet some kitties. Self-care is vital for surviving exam season with your mental and physical health intact.
- Practice positive thinking: Going into an exam with the mentality that you will be successful will help. It may seem silly but many people have found it to be helpful (Oprah approves). Obviously, you have to study as well as have a positive and confident outlook. Even if you do not believe this, going in with a positive attitude cannot hurt you, so might as well give it a try!
- Time management: By this point in the semester I am sure you have heard this over and over, but it is the best thing you can do for your academic and emotional well-being. Get a calendar, a day planner or put it in your phone (or if you are me, you do all three). Writing down when, where, and what you have to do will keep your stress levels low and free up more time to socialize or rest.
- Get Active: A short walk, dancing around your room or some relaxing yoga can boost endorphins and keep your body and mind in balance. Getting up from your desk to stretch throughout the day will help keep you focused.
- Talk it out: Call your parents or grab coffee with a friend and talk through what is stressing you out, they might be able to offer some perspective. Not comfortable talking to a friend or family member? The Student Resource Centre offers free counseling services (and they will work around your schedule). It is confidential and can help you deal with the stress of school.