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Surviving Exams

Is this you?

- Two weeks left to do a semester's reading...and papers were due yesterday!
- Sleep is something vaguely remembered...
- Exercise means dragging yourself from your desk to the soda machine and back...
- Chips, candy bars, and coffee are mainstays of your diet.
- You've lost your concentration and problem-solving abilities.
- Feeling helpless and overwhelmed is an everyday occurrence.

All of the above can be symptoms of "exam anxiety" -- a common ailment among University students!

What causes or contributes to exam anxiety?

- Putting off assignments or studying
- Too little exercise
- Skipping meals/snacking on junk food
- Caffeine/sugar overload
- Letting fears get blown out of proportion
- Feeling unsure of yourself and your abilities

What you can do


- Learn and consistently use good time management skills to help you plan and organize your workload for the semester. Procrastination is an easy trap without a well thought out and structured approach.

- Maintain good health habits to reduce stress and increase your mental and physical energy. Include a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, daily relaxation, adequate sleep, and some activities just for fun.

- Be aware of those negative thoughts/messages that can cause you to lose a positive perspective. Remember past successes. Be realistic regarding expectations. Deal in facts, not assumptions.

- Take advantage of social support to help keep morale high. Friends can help boost your confidence and give your a good balance between work and play.

- Avoid the use of drugs/alcohol as a way to cope. Problems or work will still pile up and result in greatly increased stress in the long run.


- Stop studying an hour before your exam. Go for a run, listen to relaxing music, visit a friend.

- Once in class, avoid discussing what you have and have not studied. Stretch a little, take some deep breaths, give yourself a positive message ("I'm prepared -- I'll do my best").

- Read through the entire exam before starting. Gauge your time and assure yourself that there is a lot you can answer. Skip items you are not sure of -- then return later.

- When finished, just sit back and relax for 3-5 minutes -- then recheck the exam.

- Reward yourself with an enjoyable activity before starting to study for your next exam.

For more information or help
At Student Health:
Stress Management Coordinator for in-depth help with stress concerns: 924-1509
Mental Health Section - when exam anxiety persists or becomes an intense problem: 924-5556