Preventing burnout this exam season

With exams approaching we all need to balance our time, making sure we can do our best whilst also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Emily talks through her favourite ways to prevent burnout and look after yourself this exam season. 

By Emily Alger.

You might be in for the long haul when you begin revision for your end-of-year exams. My experience with exams as a Statistics student is that they are often sporadically placed across my Term 3, often beginning in the first week and ending about eight weeks later.

Finding ways to relax and enjoy your term whilst sitting and studying for exams is so important for your mental health and, as I have found, your overall exam performance.

Burn-out is the feeling of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Exam season often requires a lot of persistence, resilience and private study and as such you need to make sure you are looking after yourself as you’re working hard. If you’re experiencing fatigue, increased procrastination, self-doubt and have a generally negative outlook you may be burnt out. I have certainly related to these feelings and symptoms in previous exam seasons, these are the techniques I use to maintain a healthy head during exam season.

Foster a good relationship with yourself

The only person who can really know how you are feeling is you! The first step is to realise when you may be feeling like you are burnt out and take it seriously. To take care of yourself you need to try out self-care. Before exams start, I like to create a healthy routine for myself, which involves getting outdoors regularly, maintaining three good meals a day and taking rest periods every day (often the evening). Routines, such as what time you set your alarm for the morning, when you take mealtimes and setting a time to turn off from work, help create a structure to your day which provides benefits to your health. I found routines also provided me comfort in my exam season, a regular pattern I could follow every day. Hopefully if you can implement a routine before exam season you can keep it going when Term 3 becomes busier and maybe a little more stressful.

Image credit: ThoughtCatalog

Plan a rest day and look forward to it!

Often exams can be randomly spread across the term, in the past I have had three in a week and then a two-week break! I found that taking a day away from revision to enjoy the joys of spring and the blossoming weather really helped motivate me when I was in the middle of a busy week. It’s important to have a rest day when you know you won’t be worried about revision though!

When I plan a rest day, I always look at my exam timetable and choose the day after an exam where I have a long time before my next exam. It’s important for me to choose a day where I know I can take the day off and still have sufficient time to study before the next module. On the day itself I promise myself I won’t do any work and I refresh my life with the things I have been neglecting. I take care of my mental health by getting much needed exercise in, take a walk (and remember exams aren’t the be all and end all!), catch up with friends, do a grocery shop and clean my room. By the end of the day, you’ll have given your brain a rest and you’ll be refreshed and prepared before your next busy exam week!

Be a cat, have a rest day. Image credit: KAVOWO

Don’t push yourself too far!

Some days I’ll feel really good and work late into the evening, but I usually regret that the next day when I feel tired! With exam season I have always found that there is always more I can do, that doesn’t mean I should do it however!

Make sure you’re strict with yourself when balancing study and wind down time. Whether that be setting study hours or following a revision timetable, make sure you stick to it. Don’t push yourself too far in the hope of squeezing in everything you want to study. In the past I have also felt hesitant to agree to social plans during exam season however from my experience it has really helped with morale.

Revision for exams should not be to the detriment of other aspects of your life. Maintain a healthy routine and keep up with the things which keep up your morale. Exam revision should not be an excuse to forget about all the things which make you happy!

It’s really important to check in with your mental health and wellbeing during exam season. Make sure you take a look at the Wellbeing Support Services available here.

How do you like to spend your down time during exam season? Let us know by leaving a comment below, tweeting us @warwicklibrary or emailing us at

Header Image: silviarita

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