With the exams around the corner, we may find ourselves stuck in a never-ending cycle of intense studying. We study for the whole day, we pull all-nighters, we challenge our minds to work non-stop and exceedingly hard to the brink of exhaustion.
Things like adequate sleep, eating well, the need for self-care – they may go right out of the window because, as we tell ourselves, “Those can wait.”
But can they really wait?
We may risk entering the exam hall in the worst of conditions, in the state of burnout.
As you study, ask yourself these four questions to identify if you are leading yourself towards the road of exam burnout.
- Is my study routine healthy?
If your study routine is causing your mind and body to be overtaxed and under-nourished, it is time to switch it up. The time you spend on sleep is just as important as the time you spend on studying, as sleep helps with memory consolidation, which is essential in learning and exam preparation.
- Am I being realistic and fair to myself?
As the exam dates draw near, our daily study plan seems to be overloaded with not only the list for the day, but the uncompleted items accumulated from the days before. If so, our study plans might have been too idealistic. The feeling of constantly not being able to achieve what we set out to do can impact our self-confidence and instill distress – the type of stress that we don’t want or need.
- Am I studying ineffectively?
If we find ourselves clocking in hours and hours of study, yet are not reaping our desired results, it may be a sign that we need to relook at our method of study to avoid getting into a study rut. Some find it helpful to draw diagrams and mind maps to retain information, some prefer talking it through or writing it out, while some take quizzes to help them with their revision. Find the method which works best for you. Remember, there is no one fail-proof or fits-for-all method.
- Do I need help?
Are you struggling in this journey alone? During the period of exam preparation, we might experience the feeling of isolation. Check-in with yourself as you would with your family or friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out for emotional support from people you trust or seek academic guidance from your lecturers.
The challenges we face can also represent opportunities, for example, to grow strong and trusting relationships or to learn something new.
Finally, remember that our exam grades do not define us or our worth. More importantly, it is how we respond to each of our present challenges to nurture resilience and a growth mindset which will serve us well into our future.
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