How to cope with exam stress

AiyshaAiysha Raoof
RPS Student Champion, University of Nottingham

Exams, exams, exams… the dreaded season is upon us…

With January exams just over a month away most of us will be getting into stress mode. Therefore there is no better time than now to get some pre-exam tips out to you all on how to cope with exam stress, as the wise pharmacist says

‘early preparation leads to great success…’

Revision mode and Concentration

Well these are some of the ideas I have self-prescribed and yes they have gone through controlled trials and are now available for your pharmacy revision needs:
• At the library – Silent study, side rooms, or right in the center of the pharmacology books.
• Book a room for group revision – Help each other out you’ll all have strengths where the other has a weakness. Arrange it early so all are aware and available to avoid last minute panic.
• If you are having fun you will learn much faster. If by chance the sun happens to appear, group ‘picnic’ revision days are a must, again tried and tested by myself and fellow students.

Tick-Tock Time-Management
Get hold of your exam dates and module timetables. Identify where your strengths/weaknesses lie and which lectures flow, collate these into a revision timetable that best suits you.
It sounds obvious and useless but small techniques and preparation like this helps a great deal.

FOOD

Yes it is in capitals intentionally… I have found that food is as much a necessity as the BNF. Keep snacks around you so high nutrient brain refueling foods like fruit and of course chocolate (Dairy Milk fruit and nut fits this category of course). DO NOT forget H2O to keep you hydrated.

Tabs, flash cards and diagrams
Colour coding the world’s greatest invention! Code/tab your modules, BNF and MEP so you know where to turn to during the exam (it always comes back to pleasantly surprise you in those tricky questions.)
Oh, and let’s not forget revision cards and diagrams. You can match the atrial valve to its function or draw the the role of the liver in metabolism, a flash card and diagram will never let you down.

Take breaks
No, not endless breaks shopping, nights out and procrastinating, which leads you to the 8:55 on a 9am exam. I mean more of those quick 10-20 minute breaks… get some air we all need a little O2, talk to people and take a walk.

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Penultimately ensure you look online for similar questions or past papers. Book out the dispensary and practice OSCE skills in there because practice makes perfect!

Finally try not to panic and get a good night’s sleep before your exam day(s). Life is full of continuous examinations, from crossing a road to making a suspension so ensure you prepare in advance, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You can get help from Pharmacist Support, an independent charity that provides students with assistance for a range of stressful situations including exam pressures.

MAKE SURE you enjoy your Christmas break and have some New Year celebration slots in those timetables!
Good luck fellow pharmacy students, remember to breathe and to trust your BNF!

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