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How To Stay Focused Under Exam Pressure


The time you spend at university is a strange mix of lots of free time followed by periods of intense pressure. Many people find it hard to keep an even keel throughout the academic year, and it can be difficult to make the switch between the two states of mind. And once that pressure piles on leading up to exam time, it can get too much.

Thankfully, there are ways to hold the pressure at bay, and give your brain a chance to work well. You will need it to! Let’s take a look at the kind of things you can start doing for when the bad stuff hits the fan.

1: Exercise

Nothing blows away the cobwebs of a four-hour revision session like a bit of exercise. It will revitalise you and release endorphins in your brain that make you feel great. And when you feel positive, you will be able to focus more and be more creative. There will be times during study periods that you just want to head out for a beer. Try and resist these thoughts at this important time and go for a run, cycle, or exercise class instead. You will return to your work refreshed and full of verve.

2: Do Something Different

Set aside time from your revision schedule to do something else completely unrelated to your subject. Again, this doesn’t mean heading to the student union to sink a few beers. If you are doing a scientific subject, look into online photography classes; or something else artistic. There are plenty of free courses out there, so you don’t have to spend a thing. It will help you stimulate a different part of your brain while keeping you in learning mode.

3: Work In A Team

Hopefully, by the time you have got to end of year exams, you will have made a few friends in your classes. Get together with them for study periods and go over what you have learned. You will get new insight on what you already think you know, and will be able to get help with what you don’t. Studying for your exams doesn’t have to be a life of solitude, and in many cases it is better done in groups. It will also help you stay focused on what you need to do, and highlight any weaknesses you have. You can then put a priority on those subjects as the exams draw nearer.

4: Read Something Mind Blowing

No matter how hard your course seems to be, there are always harder subjects that will twist your brain far worse. But in a really good way. If you are struggling with something, in particular, just stop. Pick up some surreal literature, or look at some art that you struggle to make sense of. Play some obscure jazz. Your brain will go into overdrive as it tries to work out what it is seeing, reading, or hearing. And when you go back to your problem, you could find it easier to find a solution.

5: Put Aside Time For Reflection

After a mammoth study session, how much have you really learned? Take a break, but before you move on always put aside some time to reflect on everything you have absorbed. Are you confident with any topic in the subject area? Or is there anything you have missed? A good reflection session can help solidify what you know, and give your confidence a good boost at a very critical time.

Good luck with your revision and exams!

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