Dealing with Exam Stress
‘Tis the Season… to have exam stress! Join a group where you can learn and practice relaxation skills. SDC’s Psychological Services often offers workshops on relaxation and mindfulness. Check out what’s being offered at www. sdc. uwo. ca/psych/ index. html? psych Avoid using drugs or alcohol to manage stress; this will only make problems worse. Talk to someone about the stress you are feeling—perhaps a friend in residence, a roommate, a faculty or staff member, or a counsellor.
The Student Development Centre (SDC) provides personal counselling (Psychological Services) as well as counselling related to study skills (Learning Skills Services). For information on all of the counselling services SDC provides go to: www. sdc. uwo. ca Take a break! A wise strategy is to have at least one stress-reducing activity to look forward to each day: enjoying a favourite television show, reading the recent issue of a favourite magazine, emailing friends, or anything else you like to do to take a personal time out.
Breaks from academics do not have to consume huge amounts of time; in fact, it would be dangerous to choose things that would encourage procrastination. Anticipated study breaks can be things you make time for at the end of the day, as a self-reward for a productive day of studying. It is important to think about the activities that are de-stressing for you, and to use them on a regular basis to prevent stress from building to an unhealthy level. Of course if the stress has already arrived, some de-stressing techniques may be just what you need!
Here are some stressbusting suggestions: Make time for exercise on a regular basis. It can help relieve stress and also improve cognitive functioning. Check out UWO’s Campus Recreation at http://westernmustangs. ca for ways to get active. Maintain a good sleep schedule; too little and too much aren’t effective. Use meals as times to take a break with friends or family rather than trying to cram in another 15 min. of studying. Take action to change the factors contributing to your stress, such as poor time management or lack of confidence with your study strategies.
Enjoy the challenge in the work you are doing; try to appreciate the effort you are putting forth, and remind yourself to think positively about your work. Learning Skills Presentations to help improve your performance on December exams: Room 3134, WSS December 6 3:30-4:30pm Writing Multiple-choice Tests Room 3130, WSS December 7 10:30-11:30am Manage Test Stress Register online at: www. sdc. uwo. ca/learning Also, check out our online advice for Exams: Preparing, Writing and Beyond at www. sdc. uwo. ca/ learning/index. html? topics Plan your study time!
In times of stress, a plan with clear steps can be a great help. Learning skills counsellors and assistants can help you make a study plan. This involves taking inventory of what tasks you need to accomplish, and what blocks of time you have available. For assistance with planning, you can visit the Learning Help Centre (WSS, Rm. 4139) until December 8. During the examination period, December 10-21, the Help Centre will be closed, but individual appointments with a learning skills counsellor can be made in Room 4100 WSS, or by calling 519-661-2183. The Learning Help Centre will re-open on January 3 2011.