Blog by SiMS for Students Volunteer Project member Rhiannon Gil

Coming towards the end of the semester can be a very stressful time for students. You may have exams or essays or big projects due, and you might be feeling the pressure. It is especially important that you look after your wellbeing (both mental and physical) at times like these to ensure you can put your best foot forward. This blog can give you some tips which may help you balance your workload and get the most out of those study sessions.

1. Use a timer for dedicated study time.

With distractions like Instagram and Tic Tok at the tips of our fingers it can be difficult to focus on studying. It might help to use a timer, where you dedicate a certain amount of time to working and also taking a break. Tomato Timer (http://www.tomatotimers.com/) encourages you to work for short periods of 25 minutes and then take a 5- or 10-minute break. This technique is especially helpful if you struggle with keeping attention on your work as it encourages you to put down your phone and work solidly for a short amount of time.

2. Create a routine

It can be helpful to make a routine for your university work as this will help you keep on track. Whether that’s making sure you get up and to the library for a certain time or using a consistent study method that works for you. You may want to dedicate mornings or afternoons to specific subjects or make revision notes with friends and test each other on key points. Finding a routine that works for you and will help keep you going for those final assessments.

3. Try to thoroughly read each question

One of the most common mistakes while writing essays or doing an exam is not fully answering the question or going off topic. Try to ensure that any arguments you are making are relevant to the question at hand – even better if you can provide references or counter arguments to show you’ve fully understood the topic. This can be difficult, especially in exams, but try to take your time as markers will be impressed if you’re able to link all your relevant arguments together in the conclusion to fully answer the question.

4. Make sure you’re getting out of your ‘study space’

Although it is important to spend time focusing on your studies, it is also important to take time out. Make sure you are getting out of your study space, both physically and mentally, whether that’s a short walk around the local area, going for coffee with a friend, or taking time to watch your favourite Netflix show. There is evidence that taking breaks helps you be more productive and focused while working and helps you create a good work-life balance.

5. Reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed

If you feel you are becoming overwhelmed, and it is affecting your mental health you can contact the Support in Mind Scotland Information Line by phone (0300 3231545) or email ([email protected]). Here they will be able to talk through what you are experiencing and point you in the direction of resources to help you.

Your mental health matters. It's important to remember that your results do not define you.