MHAW2016 – How to prepare for your exams
As you may know, Mental Health Awareness Week is from May 16-22 focusing on relationships. So, I wanted to provide a little guidance on how to maintain a good relationship between managing your studies and exams to help you succeed. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about mental health, how you can look after yourself, and what to do if you are feeling overwhelmed.
This week coincides with one of the most stressful times at uni as you prepare for exams, dissertations and essays so it is the perfect time to focus on your mental health and learn how best to take care of yourself.
It is so important to put yourself first and not force yourself to live in the library and get top marks at the expense of your own happiness and health.
Here are a few steps that I hope will help you stay organised, relaxed and happy during this stressful time of your life because I promise you that all your hard work will pay off if you put yourself first.
If, like me, the idea of colour coded notes and planners fills you with dread, find a way of organising yourself and your work in a way that you enjoy. Once you've found the thing that works for you, it will become far less of a stressful chore and simply become part of your routine. If you are a creative and visual person, apply those abilities to your notes with diagrams, mind maps and colourful notes that stay in your mind. Or, if you are more into technology, research educational apps and tools that make revising far less painful. If you start trying out different methods and finding out what works best for you now, you will be ready to go when revision season really kicks in.
As well as being a necessary evil, revision and exams are exhausting and can really take a toll on your health. You need to find ways to completely switch off and get away from the stress so, again, find out what that is for you and use it as tool. Ideally it will be some form of physical exercise to boost your endorphins, improve your performance, give you energy and help manage your stress levels. Even if it is just a 20 minute walk to get some fresh air, you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes.
Being super organised and having a thoroughly planned schedule is all well and good but it won't get you the grades you need. Read up on maximising your productivity and efficiency. Again, it's different for everyone so figure out which times of the day you work best and plan your week based on that. Also think about your attention span, what distracts you and what motivates you. Part of this is taking the time to create a workspace that will help you study. If you are easily distracted, face away from the window and, if you're addicted to social media, leave your phone in a different room while you work. Don't forget to factor in breaks and don't force yourself to work too hard when you've clearly reached your limit because you will end up wasting time and becoming more stressed unnecessarily.
Good luck to all of you working towards deadlines and exams, and remember all you can do is your best!
Elinore Court lived at Liberty House, one of Liberty Living's London Student Accommodation options – studying a masters degree in Magazine Journalism at City University.