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Coping with Exam Stress

Exam season is upon us once more and we know that a lot of our BGF-ers will be feeling a bit lost in the exam fog so we wanted to take a moment to remind you to look after yourself and think about your self-sustainability. The BGF mentors have worked together to produce a list of their personal top tips for dealing with exam stress and finding the light at the end of the tunnel:

Rachel - Get outside

Cohort 2 BGF-er Rosemary enjoying a moment of tranquility at summer school 2018.

Build some time outdoors into your revision timetable, even if you’re too busy to stop, try taking a book or your flashcards outside. Get some fresh air, listen to the birds and take a deep breath. There’s lots of research that shows improving our connectivity with nature boosts our mental and physical health and there’s no time we need this more than exam time. If you can’t get outdoors try to bring the outside in, sit near an open window and maybe pick some flowers to bring indoors. Check out this booklet from the mental health charity Mind that has lots of great suggestions about what you can do to get outside.

Graham - Be flexible

If you are meant to be revising but can’t concentrate, don’t force it, go do something else and then come back to it when you are more in the zone. Likewise, if you are working well, just keep going! Another would be to learn how and when you revise best. i.e. try out a range of different schedules and techniques and see what works best for you (I work best early in the morning and late at night, and remember things better visually). Everyone has a different revision style. Copying something from someone else might not work for you and could lead to more stress. Find one that works for you.

Ellie - Maintain Balance

BGF Mentor Ellie baking

Mine would be maintain a balance. Set yourself a goal of the hours you’ll revise each day, focus during that time and then you can still relax and do the things you enjoy in the evenings and on weekends. For me, during exams that meant getting up and started swiftly so that I could still fit in some exercise, a film or some baking which is my favourite way to switch off.

Everyone’s grateful for a piece of cake in exam season!

Megan - Realistic schedule

Make a revision timetable and try not to overload your day! We all need breaks and sleep, otherwise the information won’t go in. Also try to change it up! A new environment (whether that be a different room of the house, a different place entirely or being outdoors) can be refreshing for revising.

Charlie - Breathe

Mentor Charlie at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica

Practice mindfulness or yoga and remember to recharge. Research shows that it is really important to stay active and take regular breaks when revising and breathing exercises immediately before an exam help to calm and clear your mind. Yoga is my go to when I am feeling stressed, anxious or just a little bit off centre. For those of you that haven’t done yoga before and wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a class there are thousands of yoga videos online – check them out.

Dan - Work together

BGF-ers jumping for joy at summer school 2018

Revising with your peers can be a great revision technique as it can help you to absorb your own notes better and have more memorable conversations about topics that might come up in the exam and you’ll have more than just your own opinion to contribute. It’s always comforting to see that other people are in the same boat as you so try offering your support to someone and see if you can get through exam time together. Remember there’s a whole network of BGF friends to reach out to.

Roy - Believe in yourself

Exams will soon be behind you and your future can take many different routes whether you get the exam results you are hoping for or not. Try flipping your negative thoughts into positive ones, don’t focus on how bad it will be if you fail but how great it will be once exams are done and you can make some exciting choices about your future. You can do it!

Good luck with the rest of your exams - the BGF Team is behind you all the way!


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