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7 Simple Survival Strategies at exam time

7 Simple Survival Strategies at exam time

There is no denying that this is a stressful time of year for students.  The year is ending, and final exams and papers are due.  As thoughts about the upcoming summer break approach, it can be even harder to stay focused on academic work.  Unfortunately, it’s not over until that last final exam is done.

During this time of stress and anxiety, self-care and studying are essential.  The logic of all-nighters and caffeine diets may help in a pinch, but there are easier ways to get through it.  Here are some essential tips that may help you, a friend or a child.


1 Eat healthy.  Skip the sugar and go for foods that keep your blood sugar stable – grains, fruits, veggies, proteins.  Hydrate often with water to naturally sustain focus and energy, and reduce alcohol and caffeine.


2 Move your body.  All those hours hunched over studying will take a toll.  Exercise has a demonstrable impact on mood, concentration, and energy level.  Even if time is limited, taking a 5-minute walk a few times each day will be beneficial. 


3 Visualize success.  We know this is such a therapist thing to say.  But consider what happens when you contemplate worst-case scenarios – heightened anxiety and the likelihood of actualizing what you have fearfully rehearsed!  What would happen if you put that same effort into envisioning best-case scenarios – feeling confident, recalling information easily, and succeeding?  


4 Work smarter.  Think about this.  If you were graded on how high you could jump, what approach would you take?  Would you jump as hard and fast as you can, repeatedly, until you wear out?  Or would you strategize by resting between jumps, letting your muscles recover, making adjustments, and even consulting with others?


5 Keep at it.  At this point in the school year time is so important.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all that needs to get done.  Do yourself a favour and break large tasks into smaller, more manageable parts.  Tackle them one by one.  And remember that sometimes the return on an investment is not immediate.  Ride it out and see how small accomplishments make a big difference in the end.


6 Take breaks.  Reward your study efforts with some scheduled downtime.  Take 15 minutes to nap, text your friends, check Facebook, etc.  Doing this can keep you more on task when you are studying, and provides a vital respite after some hard work. 


7 Go to sleep.  If your body feels fatigued, you need to rest.  Keeping a regular sleeping pattern will support your efforts to retain information and think clearly.


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