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Exam period is a very stressful time for students.

Late nights studying, last minute cramming and living on a diet of M&Ms and toast (or is that just me). But sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a huge difference to managing your exam stress levels.

With exam period underway for High School and University students in many countries and with our own Foundation students starting exams next week, I’ve asked some of our staff and former students for their top tips on coping with exam stress.

Make a List

I like to make a list of what I need to study that day. Then I only need to think about what’s on that list. Stops me getting overwhelmed.

Stephen Bruce

DIFC Course Leader, Pre-Masters Programme



Study with friends

Studying with friends really reduces stress as it makes it easier to study and also taking breaks in between and getting 6-8 hours of sleep helps to reduce stress. Also having a full morning breakfast is important.

Babatunde Kehinde

DIFC Student Ambassador, now studying Medicine at RCSI Dublin

Mix It Up

Avoid long stretches of the same kind of thing. Mix some answer writing/learning with some exercise outside, meet some people and get a partner to quiz you. Working in small bites makes each small goal achievable and changing activities keeps it fresh and avoids negative thought spirals.

Colm Nolan

DIFC Biology & Life Sciences Lecturer


Talk about it

In terms of dealing with exam stress, there is a lot of supports from UCC student union to help students. We receive emails with tips and also meetings organized to talk about the stress. For myself, I always talk to my friends about the exams and also study with them, which makes feel I am not alone. This is very important to me.

Selena Guo

DIFC Student Ambassador, now studying Accounting & Finance at University College Cork


Try some meditation

My biggest tip would be to try some meditation. There are lots of YouTube videos that can help students learn how to stay calm and detach from all the stress and emotion of exam time. Even 10-15 minutes meditation a day can help improve your sleep, help you focus during revision time and give you perspective on your exams. It’s not too late to learn how to fit a little quiet time into your day, or even between exams.

Isobel Burke

DIFC EAP Lecturer


Take breaks from study

I encourage students to take breaks from study and as this time of the year the weather is getting good – they should get out for a walk maybe by the canal or get to the sea if they can.  If they like playing sport then this is a great way to release some of the pre-exam tension and escape the stress for an hour or two. The last tip I’ve got is to get a good night’s sleep before the exam- it’s amazing how much better a fresh head works on the day.

Joan Casey

DIFC Mathematics, EAP & ESAP Lecturer

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