How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Exam Season

For students of all ages, exam season can be difficult. The often-excessive workload and the pressure to perform well can have a serious negative impact on mental health. During this time, anxiety, tension, and burnout are typical experiences. For this reason, it’s important to emphasize self-care and use mental health support techniques.

We’ll look at useful strategies and tactics in this post to help you control your stress, stay on task, and keep your mind clear during your tests. You can improve your performance and approach your tests with more resilience and confidence if you take proactive measures to take care of your mental health.

Understanding exam stress

Exam stress is the tense, anxious sensation that results from taking tests. It’s common to experience some anxiety before big exams, papers, presentations, or assessments. In fact, a little worry can push you and motivate you to put in more effort. When exam stress affects your performance and prevents you from meeting your learning and academic objectives, it becomes a problem.

Signs of exam stress

Physical signs:

  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Stiff muscles
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Stomach-ache
  • Nausea
  • Frequent bowel movement
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping

Behavioral signs:

  • Restless movements
  • Chewing on nails
  • Increase use of tobacco, drinking, or eating

Mental and emotional signs:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant Worry
  • Intense feelings of fear, dread, or helplessness

Why exam stress happens

Exam stress can originate from a variety of sources, and effective stress management requires an understanding of these factors. Stress levels can be greatly impacted by lifestyle choices including inadequate sleep, eating poorly, using stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, not getting enough exercise, managing your time poorly, and not prioritizing your responsibilities.

Major stressors can also come from information demands, such as not knowing how to prepare for exams, not having enough academic knowledge on course requirements and exam dates, and not knowing how to reduce stress. Stress is further increased by inefficient study techniques like cramming, all-nighters, passive reading, erratic memory, and disorganized notes.

Stress during exams can also be greatly increased by psychological factors, such as feeling helpless over the exam process, negative self-talk (like “I’m not smart enough,” “I’ll fail this exam”), irrational beliefs (like “If I don’t pass, everyone will lose respect for me”), unrealistic expectations (like “I must get an A or I’m worthless”), and catastrophic thinking (like “I’ll fail no matter what”). Having a thorough understanding of these variables can aid in creating effective management and stress-reduction plans for exams.

Ways to Cope with Exam Stress

Boost Your Exam-Taking and Studying Capabilities:

Mental Health During Exam Season Studying for an exam requires more than just reviewing material and taking notes. Gaining a variety of study and test-taking techniques will greatly increase your success. Through skill-building programs, individualized counseling with Learning Specialists, and helpful resources on their website, Concordia’s Student Learning Services offers support.

Modify Your Negative Thought Patterns

When exams are seen as threats, negative thoughts like “I don’t understand this stuff,” “I’m sure to fail this exam,” and “What was I thinking when I took this course?” can arise. Stress levels rise as a result of these ideas. Reducing stress can be achieved by adopting an optimistic outlook. To alter unproductive thought habits, pay attention to what you’re thinking and apply cognitive restructuring.

Acquire Calmness

Tension in the body can be a physical manifestation of stress. Deep breathing is one relaxation technique that might help release this tension. As an illustration, take a slow four-count breath via your nose, hold it for seven counts, and then release it with pursed lips for eight counts. Four times through, repeat this technique, imagining your problems dissipating with each breath out. Also check out my review of the 7 Minutes 2 Bliss Metaverse Breathing method. Progressive muscular relaxation, yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation are other beneficial relaxation techniques.

Discuss Issues with an Expert

It can be helpful to consult with a mental health expert if pinpointing the underlying cause of stress proves to be difficult. Students can schedule sessions with Concordia’s Counseling and Psychological Services to discuss their exam concerns and develop coping mechanisms.

Take Part in Well-Being Activities

Stress can be mitigated by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes frequent exercise, a balanced diet, and abstaining from tobacco use. See the Health Services website or speak with a health promotion specialist for additional information.

Exam season is undoubtedly difficult, but you may handle it better if you take proactive steps to take care of your mental health. Think back on the tactics we’ve covered: leading a healthy lifestyle, managing your time well, remaining educated, thinking positively, and utilizing relaxation methods.

During this exam period, try adding one or two new behaviors to your regimen. Consider planning regular study breaks and using the time to practice deep breathing techniques or counteract negative thoughts with affirmations of positivity. Recall that taking care of your mental health is essential to thriving throughout exam season, not just getting by.

Zainab Nassrallah

Zainab is a 21 year-old university student from Canada majoring in social and personality psychology. She is passionate about mental health and dedicated to understanding the complexities of human behavior and emotional wellbeing. Her studies have deepened her interest in cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and the impact of social dynamics. Outside of her academic pursuits, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading and watching Netflix. She is committed to user her knowledge and skills to make a positive impact in the field of mental health and support those in need.

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