As if the pressure to survive exam stress wasn’t stressful enough already, now COVID-19 has been added to the mix, coupled with a hearty dose of uncertainty. Whether end-of-year varsity exams for 2020 will continue as planned, be taken exclusively online, or be postponed until next year still remains to be seen, which only adds to student concerns and anxiety. Below, we highlight the various exam stress symptoms to watch out for and how to take better care of yourself throughout these challenging times.
Symptoms of exam stress
The symptoms of exam stress include:
- Feeling sad or anxious a lot of the time
- Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work and preparation required
- Struggling to focus or process information when studying
- Poor quality sleep, such as waking up frequently throughout the night, or insomnia (struggling to fall asleep)
- Persistent headaches
- Increased heart rate and feelings of panic – some students may even experience panic attacks
How to survive exams
Most importantly, you need to remind yourself that there is only a certain amount of the current situation that is in your control. You cannot control how COVID impacts exam season. However, you can control how prepared you are for it and how you approach it.
You also have the power to take better care of your mental health.
In order to look after your mental health, you need to first take better care of your physical health. So, make sure that you are getting enough rest, eating well, and getting 30 minutes’ worth of exercise at least three times a week. Once you have ticked all of those boxes, you can also make an effort to seek out an effective solution for managing your stress, such as taking up a new hobby or making time to speak to a friend or relative that you trust.
Amidst all of your revision, ensure that you take a few moments for yourself every single day, and take regular breaks in between study sessions.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, get help. Get in touch with counsellors on campus or contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s mental health line on 011 234 4837.