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4 Tips for Maintaining Balance During Exam Period

It’s almost exam season! Given that I’m in my fourth year of school (and my eighth exam period ever!), I’m starting to get a hand of the end of term grind. 

Today, I wanted to reflect on things I do to maintain my mental health and balance during exam period. I’ve always found that any extra time I take to look after myself during exam period pays off. After all, you can't do well on exams if you're sleep deprived and overwhelmed.

A picture of the University of Toronto front campus

1. Get enough sleep 

A couple years ago, I decided I would get eight hours of sleep per night, no matter what, and I’ve never looked back. Getting enough sleep every night is SO helpful. It makes me feel calm and in control no matter what’s going on; days where I don’t get enough sleep are so hard for me to focus and I feel a lot more stressed and irritable. So even if I have to stop work early to get to bed, I find it always pays off the next day when I’m able to focus easily and feel a lot calmer. 

If there’s one tip I recommend you try in this list, it’s definitely this one!

A picture of a bed in a small room

2. Schedule out your exam period 

It’s a lot less stressful to deal with huge amounts of work when you know exactly what you’re going to do each day to get that work done. At the beginning of the exam period, I’ll sit down and map out all the assignments I have due over the period. I’ll then break my assignments down into steps and figure out exactly what I’m going to do every day to complete them. I find this is so helpful for keeping me calm and organized during such a busy time. 

A picture of a schedule detailing what work will be done on each day of the week
My schedule for the next few days!

3. Set a consistent work schedule 

Exam periods are marathons, not sprints. Setting a consistent schedule where I always work x hours/day is really helpful for pacing myself. This means that I'll work the same amount of hours on days where I have exams coming up, vs days where I don't. Making sure I work a set amount of hours helps me feel a lot more prepared and avoids last-minute cramming. Avoiding all-nighters or stressful cramming also helps prevent burn-out, which will definitely slow me down in the long-run.

4. Take days off

Though it’s not always possible, scheduling a day off during exam period will do wonders. After I submit a couple of assignments, I always try to schedule a day off where I do nothing school-related. It’s important to remember that we’re not machines, and need time off to rest, recharge, and reinvigorate our brains! 

A picture of a dog sitting in a field with a ball and flowers on his head
Spending the day with my dog, Mick!

I hope everyone has a productive but balanced exam period! Good luck 🙂 

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