Careers Advice Blog

How to survive exams and maintain your mental health


Ahhhhexams. Although I graduated from university two years ago, I can still practically smell the fear and anxiety in the air as exams loom closely ahead. Juggling regular coursework and our other obligations can be difficult year-round, but during exams, this balancing act only becomes more complicated.

Luckily, there are a few ways to survive your exams while maintaining your mental health. Here are a few to get you started!

Stay organised

Make a schedule of assignments and other responsibilities, and make sure that schedule is easily accessible. During my university years, I kept a dry-erase board to create a daily to-do list, as well as a dry-erase calendar board that allowed me to see my entire month at a glance. Being able to organise and visualise these action items made them much less overwhelming to complete, and there was no greater feeling than being able to erase some tasks from my boards! Another option is to keep a written agenda book or use your smartphone’s calendar app. Create an organisational system that works best for you!

Change your scenery

While I normally enjoyed my university’s library at other times of the year, I found it to be an especially depressing place to study during exams. When I grew tired of working in the library or at my apartment, I often took my work outside with me. My university had a meditation garden that quickly became my favorite study spot on the whole campus! When the weather permits, working outside can be a refreshing change. If you prefer the indoors, it still doesn’t hurt to bring your work to a different building once in a while. That way, you aren’t staring at the same four walls all day!

Make your health a priority

For many of us, exams become the perfect excuse to stop taking care of ourselves. Instead, we turn to excessive junk food, energy drinks and those infamous all-nighters. Our time is limited, so we cut out the things we don’t believe to be necessary – in this case, the things we do for ourselves. During this exam period, I encourage you not to fall into that trap again! Make healthy meals ahead of time and freeze the leftovers so you can quickly reheat them. Get some exercise. And when you’re dozing off at your desk and about to grab yet another cup of coffee, listen to your body and go to bed. When you wake up, you will transform from a grumpy monster with really sloppy mistakes into a revitalised star student who is ready to take on the day!

What are your tips for how to survive exams and stay healthy? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo: Rob Bertholf / Flickr

Valerie MosesHow to survive exams and maintain your mental health

Related Posts


Join the conversation
  • Dan S. - March 23, 2015 reply

    “Make your health a priority”

    Yes, you have to take long walks to clear your head, or even better: you need to find a jogging partner who is preparing for some exams herself / himself. A health and social break at the same time! 🙂

    Dan from

    Valerie Moses - March 24, 2015 reply

    I completely agree, Dan! Whenever I needed a break during exam time, it was great to call up a friend and hit the gym or walk a nearby trail together. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *