Alumni Advice: How to deal with exam stress
2 May 2018
Struggling with the pressure of exams? We reached out to UCL alumni - who know exactly what you’re going through - to get their tips for keeping exam stress at bay. Read on for their sound (and sensible!) advice.
Caroline Martiny – Psychology, UCL Affiliate (1998)
I often took small pauses where I drank some herbal tea, listened to music and danced or sang. And I went running every day to get some fresh air. Yoga and meditation help too as the deep breathing helps to relax you and takes away the stress. And of course you should prepare yourself well, whilst always knowing that perfection doesn’t exist!
Dewi Safitri – Science, Technology and Society MSc, UCL (2015)
Share it with others. Do your revision with groups of classmates who are willing to share readings, analysis, and so on. You don’t need to have the brainiest of friends, as long as they commit to do the hard work with you. It will: a) save time; b) help you to understand your subject better, either by listening to friends or them listening to you; and c) boost the morale of the whole group.
Fernanda Andalaft – Psychology BSc, UCL (2008)
It’s an absolute MUST to incorporate a pause practice during exam time. It can be a sport, yoga, meditation, a bath or anything that calms your mind for a while. When you're studying there are so many concepts, dates, and facts filling your head, so at some point during the day it’s nice to stop for a bit and acknowledge the hard work you have been doing by giving yourself a break.
Tiija Rinta – Education PhD, UCL (2008)
In my experience, the best way to avoid feeling stressed about exams is to study the material so well that you feel like you own it and it becomes second nature. It helps a great deal when you feel that you have fully comprehended the material. On the day of the exam, I found meditation very helpful: doing it in the morning and right before the exam helped me to remain calm.
Dominique Treder – Chemical Process Engineering MSc, UCL (2016)
Find a friend to study with to get a constant rhythm of studying in. Try to schedule a day off where you work out or treat yourself, such as eating a fancy meal. Self-care is really important.
Richard Pickett – History of Art BA, UCL (1979)
Easier said than done, but try not to catastrophise. Like most major challenges in life, the actual exams will transpire to be less onerous than anticipated. Revise systematically, steadily and surely without cramming too much. Exercise a lot so that sleep is not disturbed by unnecessary anxiety. Good luck!
All UCL alumni profiled here are registered on the UCL Alumni Online Community, an exclusive networking site for UCL students and alumni. If you’re looking for careers advice, or a mentor in your chosen field, register today at uclalumnicommunity.org to make professional contacts within the UCL community.