Exam Stress

Watch out for stress this exam season.

We all know how stressful exam season can be. With revision piling on, dates getting closer, and often coursework deadlines thrown into the mix, it’s no wonder that people can struggle to cope. Even with the best level of techniques and strategies, dedication, and organisations, it can all sometimes get too much. It’s important to recognise when you’re starting to reach peak level and know when it’s time to get some help.


Signs to watch out for:

  • Feeling overwhelmed. This is normal for most people facing exams and deadlines, but feeling so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start, feeling lost, and frustrated, is one of the first signs of building stress levels.
  • Not studying effectively. You might be pulling all-nighters in the library in an attempt to get that revision down, but when it comes to the next day, can you remember any of it?
  • Getting upset at small things. If you find yourself crying because no one washed the cups up, or becoming furious because someone moved your highlighter, this is a classic sign of being over worked and over stressed.
  • Losing weight (or gaining weight). Stress does funny things to us. Some people lose all appetite and replace it with endless worry. Others eat their way through it. If you find yourself losing or gaining weight, it can be a sign that you’re working too hard.
  • Sleeping too much or not enough. Often, when you’re stressed, tiredness is what gets you the most. Tired of studying, tired of reading, tired of waiting for the exam to be over with. You might find yourself lying awake worrying, or sleeping most of the day away and still feeling exhausted.
  • Procrastinating. While procrastination might seem like the opposite of being stressed, this is often a case of finding anything and everything to distract you from the work that’s causing the stress.


Often, stress can be managed effectively with some solid coping techniques and making effective use of study time and study breaks. However, there are a number of sources you can use to get help for stress levels.

  • The GP. Your doctor might not be an expert in the subject you’re studying, but they are there to make sure you stay well and healthy. If stress is really getting to you, they’ll be happy to provide you with some help and advice, and medication if it’s needed.
  • Counselling. CUSU offers a counselling service in our Health and Wellbeing centre. Here you can book in to speak to one of our dedicated counsellors. If you just need someone to talk to, or want to try and structure out some techniques and practical advice, they can help.
  • Samaritans. The Samaritans often get labelled as a help service for those feeling suicidal. But they’re actually just a confidential service you can call and talk to, 24 hours a day. Sometimes just talking to someone and setting out the problems in front of you can really help with perspective to get you back on track.
  • Big White Wall. This is a student mental health website where you can get advice and chat to other students going through the same thing. All you need is your university email to sign up.

We hope you’re all handling the exam season well, and good luck with all the exams and deadlines! You can do it!

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