Coping with stress during your law exams
Very often, exam nerves don’t pounce on us from thin air, they’ve been lurking throughout the revision period.
So even if you feel you’re bearing up, take a moment to see if you can feel stress in your body. Sometimes, we don’t notice the ill-effects of pressure until we press the pause button. Stress may be taking its toll – and just you haven’t noticed it.
Symptoms of exam stress include:
Before your exams
Eat well and exercise. Try and avoid sugary processed foods that create temporary energy spikes followed by a “crash”. Aim for a balanced diet instead. This should include:
Please don’t drink alcohol to excess – it may seem like a great idea at the time, but your concentration when revising the next day may pay the price!
Schedule rest periods and “sensible” sleep times
Synchronise your body clock to the examination timetable – don’t do morning exams feeling that you haven’t allowed yourself enough time to wake up properly. At intervals throughout the day, practise deep breathing. There are a host of relaxation and mindfulness apps you can install on your phone. Many students find them helpful.
Preparation is key
Read our articles, How to prepare for your law exams – revision techniques for all law students” and “Top tips for performing well in law exams”. If you’re ill-prepared, be prepared for the consequences – use your practice papers so you’re very familiar with the exam formats and what will be required of you. It removes some uncertainty if you know these things. Work out which issues have re-occurred in previous examinations (and hence which cases and law are commonly applied). Once revised, decisively tick revision topics off the list. It may help you feel in charge.
Other things that may help soothe pre-exam-day stress include:
On the day of the exam
After the exam
Avoid endlessly trying to find out how other people felt they did in the exams. They can’t be objective. All you’re doing is trying to measure yourself against what is currently immeasurable; it’s a negative opportunity to sew the needs of further stress and undermine yourself – all in the guise of “exam post-mortem”. Don’t be tempted. Treat yourself instead and exercise.
If your stress becomes uncomfortable, if at any time you are worried about your mental health, remember you are not alone. Share with a friend, a family member, a tutor or anyone at the Law Training Centre, we are always here to help and help you make the most out of your exam.
From all of us at the Law Training Centre, good luck for your exams!