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Final Exam Stress

UBC PATHS Blog Post: Nov 23, 2022

No one’s life is stress free, especially as a student, and long-term stress may keep us from performing our best, therefore it is crucial to know how to manage stress in our lives.


  • Lifestyle-induced stress:

    • Not enough sleep or rest

    • Poor nutrition intake

    • Not doing enough exercises

    • Not performing self-care

  • Course-induced stress:

    • Lack of test-taking strategies

    • Not fully understanding the course requirements and expectations

  • Study habits-induced stress:

    • Passive and inefficient studying

    • All night studying

    • Memorization instead of understanding

    • Inconsistent logic flow of course content


  • Physical:

    • Tense muscles, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping

    • Headache and sweating

    • Nausea, diarrhea

  • Mental and Emotional:

    • Difficulty concentrating

    • Going blank

    • Feeling uncontrolled, helpless, and desperate

How to Manage/Balance your Time

  • Sleep! While it may seem tempting to skip in order to study some more, doing so can actually be counterproductive. Sleep deprivation can increase stress levels and make it harder to focus while studying, making your study sessions less effective.

  • Set smaller goals to build up to your exam! Breaking up studying into smaller subtasks can make it more manageable and less stressful, especially for large exams like finals. This can also help you study better since you can simply focus on one thing at a time.

  • Reach out for help! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone you trust, like family, friends, or a professional. Asking for help is always okay.

How to Stay Motivated During Exam Season

  • The best way to get your mind moving is to first get your body moving! Being sedentary at a desk makes it nearly impossible to have any drive or motivation, so get your body pumping to get those brain juices flowing! Any form of physical exercise is a good way to momentarily distract yourself and put any energy that may be stuck, into a different form that can be expressed.

  • Make a vision board - human beings are visual creatures, and heavily rely on visual stimuli for many of our daily functions. Seeing these goals you aim to reach, or even simple tasks you want to complete will help a lot.

  • Try your best to wrap things up, move on to the next step, and try not to dwell too much on mistakes or hindrances. Complete deadlines on time to get that instant gratification and satisfaction and move on to new things!


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