Wellbeing Keeping your stress in check at exam time April 15 2021
Shy Ganglani Woman with friends Writer

Exams just around the corner? While you might think you’re the only one getting stressed, you’re not alone. So how can you keep those stress levels in check, and get stress working for you, instead of wearing you out? We asked our International Student community for their top tips on managing exam stress.

Feed your brain and body well

When you’re busy studying, eating well can go straight out the window. If you’re into snacking when you study, try swapping out things like chips and chocolate for some fresh fruit, vegie sticks or raw unsalted nuts.


Catch those Zzzzzs

Most of us know we need good quality sleep to function properly, but it can be easier said than done at exam time. Try sticking to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time each day.


Be active

Regular exercise can help take your mind off anxious thoughts, improve sleep, increase your energy levels and fire up those ‘feel-good’ chemicals in your brain. It doesn’t take much – doing a small amount a day consistently can help.


Stay social

You might think cramming study is the best tactic during exams. But maintaining some life balance is more important than ever in preventing burnout. Call a friend, lunch with mates, or check in with family regularly. Staying in touch can help give you a boost.


Plan & prepare

Boring as it sounds, being well-prepared can help you feel on top of things and keep stress levels in check. Start with planning out your study schedule, including breaks.


Students studying

Schedule downtime

Give yourself permission to do something you enjoy after your study is done e.g. spending time in nature, treating yourself to your favourite meal or hanging out with mates.


Watch your thinking

Negative thinking can undermine opportunities for success before you even get started! Stay focused on your strengths and be kind to yourself if you sometimes make mistakes.


Set daily intentions

An intention is an affirmation that you say to yourself to help set the mood for the day. Doing this can help keep you focused and positive, whatever the day throws at you. Keep it simple, with something like, ‘I am going to make healthier choices today’, or ‘I will nail my studies this afternoon so I can hang out with my friends tonight’.


Start a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness can help focus your thoughts and shift your attention from the constant pressure of ‘doing’ to the joy of ‘being’ in the moment. Try a mindfulness app or self-compassion guided meditations and exercises.

Not sure where to get started with mindfulness? Check out these helpful resources


Keep it real

Realistic goals can help keep the pressure down. Try creating goals to help you focus on the process of studying, rather than just the outcomes or marks you want to achieve. Decide on small, practical ‘minigoals’ that you can carry out comfortably to help you reach your ultimate goal of passing (or smashing) your exams!


It’s okay to ask for help

Asking for help is a good thing – don’t be afraid to seek help or support. It’s always better to get help early, rather than struggle in silence.

  • Chat with your friends or family
  • Speak to your tutors or an Academic Skills Adviser if you need help with your studies
  • 24-hour student advice line – Bupa OSHC members have access to a 24/7 Student Health and Support Line. You can speak to a registered nurse for medical assistance, access counselling services or receive advice on home, property, legal or general tax enquiries.

Call 1300 884 235 to access the 24/7 Student Health and Support line.

A small amount of stress is normal, but when negative thoughts and worry start to interfere with your ability to function, it’s important to act and seek help. Your GP is usually a good place to start, but services like Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) can provide urgent support if needed in Australia.


Students Wellbeing Learn more about our Overseas Student Health Cover

Visit our OSHC Student Hub for information on your cover plus tips on what to do if you’re sick, how to make claims and more.  

Find out more
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Shy Ganglani Woman with friends Writer