Coping with exam stress

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Use these 10 tips to help create an effective study plan and walk into your exams feeling calm and confident.

1. Why are you doing this?
When you are drowning in revision notes and practice tests, it can help to remember your goals. Is it to kick that job you hate goodbye and be your own boss or is it to get a promotion and have more responsibility? Whatever your dreams, visualise your success to help focus your energy.

2. Produce a study timetable
We’ve all been there, drinking piles of coffee and energy drinks, poring over books for hours and hours before the big exam. Avoid the stress and book time in your diary for study from the first week of the course. Treat this time as non-negotiable and tell friends and family that this is a commitment to yourself and your future success.

3. Study at the right time
It’s important to know what time suits you best to crack open the books. Do smaller blocks of revision at your peak times of concentration rather than struggling through when you are tired or frazzled.

4. Mix it up
Create variety in your study plan and use a combination of resources. Use the online lectures provided by your college, study text and pass cards, make your own notes, practice questions from the question bank and watch webinars. You might find you absorb information better from a podcast than a text book. Experiment to find what works for you.

5. Find a study buddy
Collaborative working keeps you accountable. Together you can ensure that you both work for an hour, test each other and support each other with areas of difficulty. Give yourself designated study breaks to avoid your personal catch-up time overlapping with your study time.

6. Diet
It’s easy to reach for high fat, sugary foods when you are studying but including brain super foods like wholegrains, oily fish, blueberries, nuts and broccoli into your diet will regulate your glucose levels and keep you alert.

7. Sleep
It is tempting to stay up late studying before the exam but you need energy to focus on the day, so make sure you get eight hours sleep the night before.

8. Rehearsal
You wouldn’t go for a driving test without having first driven the test route so why would you go into an exam without having attempted a practice assessment to time? Knowing that you have been through a dry run prepares you for what to expect on the day.

9. Get some exercise
Anything from walking the dog to running up and down the stairs will help reduce tension and release endorphins.

10. Relaxation
It’s not all about the books. Make sure you schedule some me-time into your study timetable. Watch your favourite TV show, call a friend or go for a jog to keep you balanced.

And finally – good luck!

Nisar Ahmed is AAT’s Programme Leader at BPP. Explore your study options at BPP

Struggling to revise? Got exams coming up? Take our latest quiz to find out what kind of learner you are here!

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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