Advice


Help for Exams and Assessments

Taking Care of Yourself During Studies

It’s natural to experience heightened stress levels around exams and assessment deadlines. But there’s a difference between general stress and any kind of anxiety that significantly affects your ability to study and do well in an assessment.

If you’re worried that you’re unable to cope with the stress you're under, get in touch with KCLSU Advice for support and help with the mitigating circumstances procedure - log in and contact us here.

For everyone else, scroll through the hints and tips below on how to stay healthy and effectively manage stress. Also, check out King’s Take Time Out for tips on staying well during your studies. 

 

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is looking after yourself and taking responsibility for your own wellbeing. It includes things like brushing your teeth and showering, but is also for your mental health. Adopting positive self-care techniques can help ease the symptoms of mental health problems. Here are some ideas:

  • get together with people you love – a phone call, a visit, or just a quick Whatsapp chat. Hearing the voice of someone who loves you can help remind you to love yourself.

  • take time to do something you enjoy – being kind to yourself when feeling low can help build your strength again.
  • mindfulness is becoming more aware of the present moment, which can distract you from dwelling on your past/regrets, or being anxious about the future. Here are some exercises you can try to help you be more mindful.

Coping With Stress

Stress is your body’s reaction to pressure. When things become overwhelming, your stress response becomes even more heightened, which has the potential to cause serious problems.

Stress can affect how you think, how you feel, how your body works, and how you behave. Symptoms include loss of appetite, not being able to sleep, headaches, not being able to breathe properly, sweating a lot, and difficulty concentrating. So, it’s important to manage stress so that it doesn’t become overwhelming or jeopardise your mental health. 

  • King’s Counselling Service has lots of online information about stress management and coping with study pressure, so check out their website for tips on recognising and addressing signs of stress. You can also speak to a counsellor about the personal and emotional aspects of your anxiety, or engage in group sessions focused on developing skills to manage assessment pressure.
  • King’s Wellbeing runs a great campaign called Take Time Out with lots of resources to help you cope with added pressures.
  • The mental health charity Mind has produced a helpful guide to exam stress, which outlines techniques for avoiding stress and sources of support and treatment for this issue.
  • There are also a range of apps out there that can introduce you to mindfulness and guided meditation which might help you to de-stress, like HeadSpace. 

Eat Right

  • Your concentration and energy levels are directly influenced by what you’re putting into your body, so your diet is just as important as your assessment prep.

  • Eating regular, healthy meals and staying hydrated is a good idea. Water is much more effective than energy drinks – even if you’ve stayed up all night revising, water will be more beneficial to you than a Red Bull. Fruit, veg, and oily fish give you the nutrients your body needs to boost your brain and keep your body alert, active and able to cope.

  • If you’re worried about time or money, think about packing leftovers from yesterday’s dinner for a day in the library. Bananas are also a great way to get one of your five-a-day on a budget.
  • You can find lots of helpful information and tips on eating healthily at the British Nutrition Foundation.
  • You can also try out these easy recipes that the NHS has put together to help you stay healthy.

Keep Active

  • It can be tempting to stay at home or in the library during revision and deadlines, but exercise is great way to relax and get rid of stress. It’ll also help you get a good night’s sleep.
  • Every little bit helps – you could use frequent, short study breaks for a chance to go for a walk. It’ll help clear your mind as well as relax you, especially if the weather is nice.
  • The NHS has tips on how to practice gym-free exercises and get fit for free. Explore their health and fitness pages for programmes, podcasts, and more information.