More than one in three students are studying for more than four hours a day during the exam year because of increased pressure to get enough points for college courses, it has been reported.
The final exam year can be extremely overwhelming. As the workload grows, it might seem like all you can, and should do, is study, study, study. But over-studying and obsessing about exams are much more common problems than people think.
YOU DON’T NEED TO PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD
Putting your entire life on hold isn’t a good idea – it’s important to maintain relationships with family and friends, as well as designating some ‘me time’, particularly if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
The Psychological Society of Ireland suggest to avoid locking yourself away for endless hours – you need to strike a balance between study, family, fun and friendships.
A study by McGill researchers on students who spent days deprived of meaningful human contact showed they became acutely restless and highly emotional. As a result, their mental performance suffered, as they struggled with arithmetic and word association tests. Therefore, attempting too much study without breaks in between can actually affect your concentration levels.
“BUT I HAVE TOO MUCH TO DO…”
Do you feel there’s not enough hours in the day to fit in both studying and socialising? It’s all down to effective planning. Schedule in specific things you enjoy doing with friends at the weekends or during study breaks. Decide how long in total you will spend studying each evening and create a timetable.
The Institute of Guidance Counsellors suggest filling in not what you intend to do, but rather with what you have done to avoid the mindset of failing or not sticking to a routine. Decide what is the most important thing you need to do on the day, then after each study session fill in the number of minutes you have spent at each subject. It is also advised that it is not necessary to fill in every single day, as everyone needs a day off.
An Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) study found that about one in three students suffer from stress during exam time, yet very few seek professional health. Only one in fourteen people under 24 said they would share any of their worries with other people. Know that you are not alone during exam time, and there are people who are willing to help you every step of the way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed from the heavy workload, there are ways you can relieve the pressure:
- Set realistic, attainable goals
- Have a well-balanced diet
- Partake in exercise – 30 minutes minimum a day
- Get eight hours’ sleep every night
- Set aside an hour of social interaction/relaxation each evening
- Learn and implement smart study practices
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