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Health, wellbeing and lifestyle

Exam fit

Everyone deals with pressure differently, but we're here to help.

Student and Library Services have created a helpful guide as part of the mental wellbeing support services available to you.

The list below also identifies simple things you can do to help stay healthy and well during your time at university and beyond.

See our guidance on what to expect in the exam room itself

Helpful habits

  • Take regular breaks
    Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30 - 45 minutes, so make sure you take regular breaks to keep fresh. When you do take a break, don’t stay at your desk – go for a walk or even just make yourself a drink.
  • Eat well
    Keep a good balance of blood sugars level to avoid highs and lows of energy by eating slow-release foods like bread, rice, pasta, fruit and vegetables. Did you know, eating a banana 30 minutes before an exam can help you stay relaxed and focused, and boost your thinking?
  • Drink lots of water
    It sounds like an obvious one, but people often underestimate how much hydration helps to improve your concentration, cognition and memory function.
  • Location, location
    Think about when and where you work best. Are you a morning person, or do you work better later in the day? Do you like complete silence, or background noise? There’s no best place or time to work – it’s about what works for you.
  • Keep active
    Exercise is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up, so try and get out for even a short walk.
  • Sleep well
    Try to get about 8 hours’ sleep a night. If you’re worried about not getting enough sleep, there are lots of things you can do.
    How to get to sleep
  • Relax
    Find activities that help you relax – maybe it’s a hot bath, watching a TV show, or a creative activity. Schedule this down-time into your timetable.

Unhelpful habits

  • Setting unachievable goals
    Don’t set yourself goals you can’t meet – no one can revise 10 topics in one day!
  • Cutting out all fun
    Don’t cut out all the enjoyment from your life. It’s tempting to decide you’ll just knuckle down to work and focus, but this is counterproductive. It’s impossible to focus without giving your brain rest by doing other activities.
  • Stimulants
    Avoid them. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration in the long term. It’ll also make it more difficult to get that much-needed sleep.

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