Noor: Maintaining wellbeing in exam season

29 June 2021
Students socialising at a coffee shop in Cardiff

For World Wellbeing Week 2021, one of our International Foundation Year students, Noor from the US, writes about her experience of exam season. Here, she shares her best tips for coping with anxiety and revision.

Exam weeks are tough. They can be hard, and it is really easy to forget to do basic things that support your wellbeing. Eating can be neglected or done in excess if you stress-eat. Sleep is de-prioritised as you try to cram new content hoping that something might stick. I’ve been there, a lot.

Luckily, I’ve found healthier ways to cope that will not only support your wellbeing, but also greatly improve your exam performance. Before we get any further, I just want to provide a quick reminder of what wellbeing is: it is the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.

My number one tip would be is to prioritise sleep. This is the area that people most commonly neglect when they are stressed, because being in a constant state of unrest can make it harder for you to relax and get the sleep you need. Sleep is incredibly important for your health and maintains wellbeing, as one of the main pillars of wellbeing is good health. Stress also makes you overthink and can make you alert at the wrong times – being wide awake at 3am is not productive and cannot be maintained for long. Studying late at night will eventually lead to burnout and messes up your circadian rhythm. Aim to get within 7-10 hours of sleep for optimum brain performance!

My second tip is to stay connected socially. This could be through social media, or virtual face-to-face time through video calls. Additionally, physically getting out to meet up with friends during a period of stress can really boost your happiness levels and allow you a chance to destress. Social activity also combats loneliness, which has various negative effects on the body and boosts your immune system. One lesser-known effect of socialising is that it can actually sharpen your memory and boost cognitive skills, all which will help to maximise your exam performance.

My final tip would be to do something you enjoy. Doing things that make you happy is a major way to maintain wellbeing. This ties in with my second point of getting connected – whether it is getting together with some good friends, or watching your favourite TV series, doing something enjoyable will help you get your mind off work and allow you to unplug from your revision, which will greatly boost your wellbeing.