How to maintain a healthy lifestyle during exams

The end of semester leaves one thing on students’ minds — exams. It’s easy to let bad habits rule during this stressful time, but making the effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle will help you keep your stress levels to a minimum and achieve your best results come exam day.

Cut back on other commitments

If you can, minimise your hours at work or any other major commitments you usually have during the week. This will take a lot of pressure off and allow you more time to study — without the need for late nights. You’ll have plenty more time for these activities once exams come to an end.

Eat a well-balanced diet

It’s tempting to reach for study snacks such as chips and chocolate to see you through exams, but you’ll find it much easier to concentrate if you eat nutritional meals and healthy snacks. While the odd treat here and there is a good study reward, overloading on sugar or salt will only leave you feeling flat. It’s also important to make sure you eat a decent meal before your exam.

Avoid excess caffeine

Many students fall into the trap of turning to coffee or energy drinks to help them study. You may think that it will help you study into the night — or pep you up for an exam — but it’s more likely that you’ll ‘crash’.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sacrificing sleep for late-night cramming isn’t a good habit to keep, even if you want to be more prepared for your exam. It’s unlikely that you’ll do your best study if you’re struggling to stay awake — and it goes without saying that you should try to get a full night’s rest before an exam. 

Find a friend to study with

Studying with friends offers an opportunity to take a break and socialise while remaining productive. In fact, you may find that you work more effectively when you have others to motivate you and help you work through difficult concepts and subject matter.

Allow yourself some breaks

Studying can be tiring, so it’s important to stop and refresh every so often — even if you’re feeling overwhelmed and short of time. Taking five minutes to go for a short walk or make a cup of tea can help you clear your head and regain your focus.

Learn to manage stress

Each student has their own way of dealing with stress — you need to determine what works for you. Doing some exercise, having a short nap, catching up with friends or even just taking a few deep breaths are all good ways to relieve stress and refresh. If the stress is really starting to build up, you can speak to someone at your institution — your tutor or lecturer, an academic adviser or a counsellor.

Plan a post-exam reward for yourself

Planning something fun for after your exams — whether it’s a dinner with friends, a movie night or even a trip away — will offer something to look forward to and motivate you to work hard right until the end.

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