Careers Advice

Beat the stress

At this time of year with coursework deadlines looming and exams on the horizon, it’s not unusual to feel under pressure. While a little bit of stress can be manageable, here’s ScotGrad's advice in case it all gets too much.

Published: 16/03/2017

Know the signs

Stress can manifest itself in lots of different ways, and symptoms may be different from person to person. Some of the typical signs include poor sleep, loss of appetite, becoming irritable or negative, headaches, and stomach pains. The NHS has a wealth of information on spotting the first signs of stress.

Rest is important

Just like your muscles need time to recover after physical exercise, your brain needs time to rest and absorb knowledge. Incorporate short breaks throughout your studying and aim to get eight hours sleep every night. You can’t work all day, every day, so when you’ve finished your day’s work, find something relaxing to do. Whether it’s watching Netflix, taking a bath, or even baking, it’s important to unwind after a day of hard work.

Switch it up

Although you might need the absolute silence offered at a parent’s house instead of the library, switching up your revision space can help prevent you feeling claustrophobic or bored. Changing the scene of your study can help make you feel refreshed and ready to revise again, even if you’re simply moving from the area of the library you normally go to, or to another room in your house.

Everyone is different

Different people work in different ways: some like to get up early, some like to work late into the night, and some seem to work 24-7. But, instead of worrying about what other people are doing, focus on your own study and stick to your plan. Also, we all work at different speeds so avoid measuring your work rate against anybody else’s.

Talk it out

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can often be therapeutic to talk about it with your friends or family. Talking about how you feel with those closest to you can help you feel like you’re not alone, and that you have their support.

Let it go

Immediately after exams, some people like to dissect its contents and compare answers with classmates, which can sometimes bring on stress, particularly with people who were worried before the exam. If you were stressed in the run-up to exams, avoid analysing it afterwards. You’ve done your best and there is nothing you can do now, so there is no need to get stressed about your result.

Universities are acutely aware of the impact exams and stress can have on students and offer a whole range of support services. If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know, you should contact your university’s counselling service.