Exam results aren’t really the end of the world, right?

Last week had marked the reason for many students celebrating by going out to Wind St until their livers were to inevitably give up on them, or curling up with comfort food watching sad films that never really makes anything better (more of a ‘at least my life isn’t as bad as them’ complex). That’s right – the heart stopping, stomach dropping, tear jerking results from your dire exams in January are here.

My sentiments exactly.

Merely the thought of February 4th onward was scaring the life out of many of us, and for those of us who haven’t even got our results yet (English, Law, and 1st/2nd year Psychology [me]), it just makes our overriding fears spiral out of control. Social media is partially to blame for this. I’m not saying that others aren’t happy for their fellow colleagues getting 2:1’s and firsts, but I feel you are very much lying if you don’t get the niggling feeling of envy, hostility or even irritation when your friend from a different subject is on a nice 80% average and you’re scraping the 2:1 barrel. The worst is when this over-achieving friend posts their disappointment when they’ve ‘only just got’ a first. Darling, I am nowhere near even achieving that…

Another issue is the after-effect of exams. For example, your last exam is over and the only thing to do (after the blood, sweat and tears put into last-minute revising) is overthinking how it went. The last 1-2 hours have been spent pouring all of your module knowledge into this paper, obtained from many late nights in the library revising your pants off, trying not to cry as you feel the pressure building with every tick of the clock. Afterwards, it’s almost like this massive weight has been taken off your shoulders, and you’re finally free to do whatever you want (a week of binge eating and Netflix for most). But whilst exiting the exam venue, your hear them. The voices that are talking about what they got for each question. You really REALLY don’t want to hear it, just in case you got anything wrong and sends your panic modes flaring. But on the other hand, if you got it right, it means you’ve scored at least some marks! Either way, it’s troubling and harmful for your expectations – and more worry is certainly not what you want when you should be relaxing.

Finally, the main reason why students become remorseful after exams and when onlooking their results is due to thinking that you haven’t revised enough. Even if you are a golden student with near perfect grades, there is always the room for improvement in your mind about the things you should’ve wrote to obtain more marks. You simply cannot escape these thoughts after an exam, or when you’ve just taken a look at your results with a heavy heart. It drives us crazy, this perfectionist outlook when getting a good grade and thinking ‘oh but my friends and colleagues have done so much better, I’m such a failure’ when in fact, you’ve probably only got 2 marks less than them!

Of course, not everyone is this bothersome over results, some are just happy that they’ve passed (which is the most relaxing mindset to have for sure)! But for others (including myself), we like to nitpick our flaws and make ourselves feel bad because we haven’t achieved our ideal goals. For these people I come back to the point is I was trying to make in the title: exam results are NOT the be all or end all. They are definitely important for your progression throughout uni and later life, but letting them take over your life is just not healthy. Here’s just a few tips to help you through the next exam season that you can implement into coping and not letting the stress take over your life:

1) Breaks are essential! Revising 12/24/48 hours straight only makes you tired, overworked and stressed to the core. The crucial minutes you get from each break allow you to rest and recharge. As long as it isn’t for too long, otherwise your work ethic may leave and not come back!

2) Try not to eat too much junk food during revision. Although it’s convenient for consumption whilst reading your textbooks and such, evidence has shown that healthy food is much better for concentration and stress levels.

3) Try to switch up your revision techniques. Instead of staring at a book for 5 hours at a time try to spend an hour doing different forms of revising, such as past papers, flash cards, mind maps and essay prep (if applicable). It really helps you look at the content from different perspectives, plus you could find a new and more efficient way of revising than what you’re currently doing now!

 Hopefully this will allow you to not feel so much like the image below when it even comes to the thought of exams anymore!

Image credit: @ExamProblems at Twitter
Image credit: @ExamProblems at Twitter

Until next time. x

Gadael Ymateb