On Campus

7 ways to cope with exam stress

Including some tips you’ve never heard

Photo by yuko_ppp2501 on Flickr

7. Pet a puppy
Pets reduce stress and there may be a furry friend closer than you think. Therapeutic Paws of Canada brings therapy dogs to stressed out students at the University of Ottawa and McGill. BC Pets and Friends comes to the rescue of students at the University of British Columbia.

6. Don’t worry about getting it all done
Chances are good that you won’t have time to catch up on all those textbook chapters. If it looks like you’re going to run out of time, it’s often best to focus on what’s in the lecture notes and the lab reports. The textbook may be the last thing your professor has in mind when designing the test.

5. Sleep smartly
It’s best to study before bed instead of cramming in the hours before the exam. That’s because sleeping gives your brain a chance to cement what you’ve learned. It’s also important for your brain to be awake when you write the test. So, if you have an 8:30 a.m. exam a week from today and you’re used to getting up at noon, prepare by getting up slightly earlier each morning until then.

4. Caffeine is your enemy
Caffeine helps you focus for a short amount of time, but it also creates anxiety, which is the last thing you need when trying to get a good night’s sleep. A coffee consumed in the afternoon can keep you awake well past midnight, depending on your body size. If you do indulge, apps like Caffeine Zone can help you estimate just how long that americano or green tea will be with you.

3. Stake out a study spot
If you’re near your bed, your TV, your fridge and your friends, it’s really easy to procrastinate. It’s better to get up early and head to the library instead. Being surrounded by other stressed out people will cue your concentration. Bring water and some healthy snacks so that you that you can camp out in a carrel without worrying that someone else will snatch your spot if you take a break.

2. Talk to someone
If you’re feeling really stressed, another person can help you put things into perspective. Chances are good that your roommates are stressed out too. Of course, if you’re feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t concentrate, can’t eat, or can’t get out of bed, professional help is available.

1. Exercise
The American Psychological Association says that exercise reduces stress. Vigorous movement like running and swimming will leave you feeling calm, fresh and energetic for hours.

And so there you have it—seven ways to cope with exam stress. Now get back to work!

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