Relaxing during exam time

We know exam time can be a daunting and sometimes stressful period.  However here are 4 simple 5-minute exercises you can do at any time, to help you relax, stay calm and remain focused.  We have also included some useful resources for further relaxation exercises.

  1. Breathe deeply
    Sit comfortably with your back straight. Imagine a spot just underneath your naval. Close your eyes, focus on and breathe deeply into that spot.  Exhale slowly, counting to ten in your head. Do this repeatedly and you feel calm.


  1. Relax to music
    Listening to your favourite music with relaxation exercises is a great way to tune out. Find the music that lifts your spirits or soothes you.


  1. Stand up and stretch
    Your body accumulates tension in areas like the neck and lower back when sitting perusing over notes for long periods, which can lead to aches and pains. It is recommended you stretch every 45 minutes, in order to deter lasting tensions. Set a reminder to take a short break, whether it’s just a stretch or a brief walk outside. This simple act will increase circulation and promote relaxation.


  1. Visualise + Smile
    Have you ever noticed that when you think back to a recent vacation or a happy moment, you feel instantly relaxed? Visualising and smiling actually triggers the release of endorphins – natural stress relievers. So if you are feeling tense or a little worried, maybe try closing your eyes, thinking of your favourite place and smile 🙂



Switching off at night
Just recently we discovered a very powerful app which helps you tune out and get a good night’s sleep.  The app is called ‘Headspace’ and is available on Android and iOS.  Give your mind a ten minute workout and reap the rewards.

We have also discovered a list of freely available mindfulness exercises from Beaumont Hospital. Click here for even more relaxation and remember to keep smiling 🙂

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8 tips on getting ready for exams

Good luck in the exams

  1. Give yourself enough time to study.

Yes we know people have gotten a 2:1 or even a first when cramming but I think we can all agree that it doesn’t normally work out like that!  Plan your time ahead (start now if you haven’t already).  Some exams may need more time than others to prepare for, so factor that in and give more time where more time is needed.

  1. Clear distractions, organise your study area

Make sure that you have enough space to spread your books and notes out.  Have you enough light?

Put away your phone.  Don’t have 20+ tabs open on your web browser.  Check the ‘Stay Focused’ extension available on Google Chrome (and other browsers if you search) to minimise time allowed on social media and other distractions.

Some people require complete silence in a tidy environment. Others work better with background music or ambience.  Maybe you require a mixture.  Find out what works for you and prepare your study area.

  1. Use flow charts and diagrams, create a story

Write down everything you know about a topic before studying.  Then make a list of what you need to know.  Closer to the exam, minimise your revision notes into a one-page diagram.  Visualising your ideas in this brief format can really help you remember everything you need to during the exam.

  1. Do past exam papers

You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again – for good reason!  Past exam questions generally cover topics in different ways year on year.  They will help you get used to the format of the questions and if you practice timing yourself it can be a great way of making sure you allocate correct time for each question during your exam.

  1. Explain your answers to others

Communicating your answers to others is a great way of getting what it is you are trying to say clear in your head and also identify areas you are still not 100% on, which may need more study.

  1. Eat and drink the right things

It’s very easy to crave for that quick fix to hunger after a long (or short!) period of study.  Avoid junk food!  This can make you tired and crash very quickly when performance was otherwise relatively OK!!  Slow releasing energy foods are much better in general but especially around exam-prep time.  See this list of 15 foods that will aid your memory and concentration and even improve energy levels.

Drink plenty of water.  This is an essential part of keeping your brain working at its best.  Keep well hydrated during study period and exam day.

  1. Mind yourself

Spend 1 hour every day switching off from exams and doing something you enjoy. This could be anything from taking a bath, making yourself a decent meal or catching up on your favourite TV show.

  1. Be prepared

Avoid last minute panic by planning how you’re getting to the RDS in advance. Traffic around the RDS is insane during exam time and can add up to half an hour to your travel time. The Students’ Union run an exam shuttle bus from campus, but this can fill up quickly, so always have a back-up plan.

Double-check your exam timetable. In previous years, a number of students have arrived to the exam hall in the afternoon only to find out their exam took place that morning, resulting in an immediate fail grade. Save yourself the cost of a repeat by simply re-checking the exam timetable.


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