Posted by: Sara Valente8 MAY 2011
Revision is the thorn in every student’s side but each year, without fail, exams will come. Laptops will be on 24/7, energy drinks will be bought by the case-load and the library, like a Vegas casino, will have no sense of time or day. There are many types of student, there are those who panic months before the exam but don’t do much about it, those who will chain themselves to their desks and there are those who don’t do any revision until an all-nighter before the exam.
I am not here to motivate you to open a text book and start studying, I want to emphasize the issue of too much revision – and there is such a problem! Pharmacy in particular is a challenging and competitive course which is often filled with over-achieving students who spend too much time despairing over upcoming exams. Revision overload will induce high levels of stress which can actually impair your ability to perform in exams. Sitting in the same position for too long can cause neck and back ache. Pressure to do well can cause a lot of anxiety that may cause bowel problems and insomnia. Some may find comfort in junk food which will lead to elevated energy levels and then experience a ‘crash’ later on whilst others won’t eat at all. All of these are unhealthy outcomes of stress.
Exam time can be a stressful experience for most students but there is a way to balance productive work and mental well-being. Revision requires a lot of brain power and therefore uses a lot of energy. Try approaching revision like you would exercise. Do short bursts of productive revision with plenty of breaks and stretching. Make sure your body has the right nutrients to perform such as natural sugars from fruit and protein from eggs and fish. Drink plenty of fluids and get fresh air and sunlight. If you have been staring at a computer screen for hours and nothing is going in, go do something else completely unrelated and when you feel guilty enough go back and try again! It is important to control our stress levels because long-term stress will cause poor health in the future.
Stress can be reduced by a realistic state of mind. Instead of worrying about failing exams, think about passing them and change any negative thoughts into a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. This kind of thinking has always worked for me and it makes the exam period seem a lot less intense.