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Thread: Study and exam stress

  1. #1

    Default Study and exam stress

    I've been extremely stressed out lately because of personal events and having to study for my Leaving Cert (major exams here in Ireland - important for college).

    All this year, I've been studying fine, getting plenty done, but for the last few weeks, I just.. can't. I got back some early exams (not important in the long run, just a practice for the Leaving Cert) and didn't do nearly as well as I hoped. I'm not failing subjects, or anything like that, but I'm pretty much down a grade on everything (or two in the case of two subjects) from what I'd expected. Since then, when I study I feel like nothing's going in, and my concentration span is that of a goldfish.

    Does anyone else have any tips for dealing with stress coming up to exams? Even when I try take a break and do something else, I don't really enjoy it that much because of worries about exams.

  2. #2


    If there's any way you can afford it, adequate sleep. My studying is significantly more effective if I've picked up a full night's sleep and then study at a normal number of hours after having last slept.

    The other secret is caffeine, which won't do anything for the stress, but as a stimulant will make you more productive while it's in effect.

    My concentration span is awful as well, and I find that once I hit some threshold, a stress switch flicks and I can't continue on without a break or my production tanks. The key is not to let those breaks go on forever.

    Actually toning down the stress is a much harder thing to do. Good sleep is a big part of it.

    I'm also willing to suggest - cautiously, and under the wide and quite possibly wrong assumption that you drink - that a few alcoholic beverages can be a way to kill stress if you're responsible about it, but forget trying to study even buzzed because it just doesn't work, and you'll basically trade 4-6 hours for the reduction in stress.

  3. #3


    Trust me, tests aren't something to be afraid of, first of all. Many people make the mistake of having the test rule your thoughts entirely, making it even harder to study when you feel like you have an anvil hanging above your head.

    As for the studying itself, don't do a lot at a time. Take breaks, don't cram. Learn a few things, give it time to let it set in before you try something else, and the attention span shouldn't be too much of a problem. You can try to keep yourself occupied by playing games with flash cards. (One of these that my brother uses, is flipping the cards face-down, like those memory games, but half have words, the other half has definitions. You can't get rid of all of the cards, unless you know the definitions.)

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4


    have you ever tried meditation? I find that when I am in the middle of midterms or finals I can feel overwhelmed. meditating allows me to spend some time clearing my mind.

  5. #5


    With the caffeine (which can be incredibly useful for concentration), if you can find it, yerba mate is great for getting a caffeine boost without the jitteryness. In my experience, Mate usually helps with concentration, productivity, etc. but don't get the whole jittery/jumpy like with energy drinks or coffee. Also, from experience, once in a caffeine high avoid "wondering"/breaks/and the such. If you focus on one thing, caffeine can help a ton with keeping focus on it, but if you start to wonder, its really hard to get the focus back.

  6. #6


    I've always found that doing a bit of studying right before I go to sleep helps, like 15 min or so, no more than that. Try to stagger the subjects you study, and stick with really short periods. You can also make up games, and play them with friends. Maybe each friend can make a Jeopardy or University Challenge type game for one subject you will be tested on?

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