Looking after your mental health during the exam period.

Students studying for exams (portrait)

Exams can be a stressful time. You’ve worked hard and made it through 11 weeks of course material and assignments before collating all that knowledge for one exam. And more than ever, it’s important to ensure you’re looking after yourself and your mental health throughout the exam period. Unfortunately exams are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through each teaching period. We put together some tips for how to look after yourself during this time.

Reframing exam stress

If you find the exam period difficult, try reframing this time as a positive challenge instead. Exams can become something for you to conquer by putting yourself in a better mindset. Verywell, an online mental health resource, calls this cognitive reframing, “a way of changing the way you look at something and, thus, changing your experience of it.” Start by taking notice of your negative thoughts. Secondly, challenge these negative thoughts by asking yourself are they even true, and are there other ways of viewing a situation? Lastly, try replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, viewing a stressful situation as a challenge looking towards a more optimistic outcome. You can discover more about cognitive reframing on Verywell.

How to reduce exam stress

A great way to reduce the stress around exams is to be and feel prepared. Create and stick to a study plan, which helps to ensure you spend enough time on each unit or topic and cover the important study areas and learning materials. Make sure your family, friends, boss and colleagues are aware of your upcoming exams so they can work around the period and offer support. And try and test various study and recall methods to find the one that helps you be the most productive. Maybe you’re a visual learner and flow charts and colour-coded notes assist you best in recalling important information? Check out tips on how to study smarter on our blog.

What you can do physically to help yourself mentally

One of the most important ways you can help improve and maintain good mental health is by looking after yourself physically. While you’re studying, it’s important to fit in exercise each day and take the time to stretch during long periods of study, which will help to improve your energy levels. Taking regular breaks and getting enough sleep will also contribute to your productivity levels, as well as helping you retain information.  Where you spend most of your time studying can also have an effect on your mental health. We suggest creating a space that is positive and distraction-free with good lighting and a comfy chair.

It’s vital that your mental health is a priority throughout your studies and exam periods. Remember to reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed, need some extra help or someone to talk to. Your Student Advisors are around 7 days a week to help you during your time at Western Sydney University Online.