You and assessments

It is normal to feel a level of stress when it comes to assignments and examination periods.  Although they may not always show it, stress is very common amongst many students.

A level of stress is healthy, and a normal reaction especially when it is something that you care about.  It can help motivate you.  It is important to help yourself manage the stress to avoid it becoming something that negatively impacts your emotional wellbeing and your studies. 

Managing Assessment/Exam stress 

Here are three things that can help, find what works best for you. 

Being Organised

It is your responsibility to ensure that assessments are handed in on time and that you prepare for your lectures and seminars to get the most out of the learning. Being organised and planning your work can also help you avoid serious issues such as plagiarism which can happen if you are rushing and don’t properly reference your material used. 

Having a level of organisation can help you keep on top of your studies which will help to reduce the stress.  Everyone is different and some find it easy to organise timetables and deadlines than others.  Finding a way that helps your study pattern and how you work as a person is important.  Check out the following resources: 

Knowing your emotional triggers.

Although academic stress is normal, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy to manage.  Knowing what causes you increased worry can help you to find ways of dealing with it. Sometimes not feeling confident, your general health and wellbeing and concerns about not doing as well as you want to – they can all build up the emotional pressures that can make it harder to focus on what you can do.  Here are a few resources that can help, including finding some headspace to relax from the academic pressures. 

Preparing for your exams. 

Finding a plan for you is important.  Working on your exam success is about your approach as well as your academic knowledge and revision strategies.  Some resources that can help: 

  • Top 8 tips to cope with exam anxiety from Save the Student 
  • Exam Study Skills workshops can help with revision techniques, managing exam anxiety and preparing for your exam. 
  • Enhance your revision practice by making sure you have time out, exercise, eat well – this can give you energy and focus when you come back to your revision notes. Leeds Sport is a good place to start.
  • If you are ill on the day of an examination, you can request consideration of mitigating circumstances - via an application for ‘Additional Consideration.’ If you are too unwell to sit the assessment, you can request a first attempt (uncapped) resit; if you manage to take the assessment but feel your performance was affected, then you could request ‘consideration of marks.’ Remember that applications for Additional Consideration always require supporting evidence, so you need to ensure that you see your doctor or relevant medical professional about the illness that is affecting your exam. 
  • For PGRs, we know that transfer and your final viva can be particularly stressful points.  Make sure you know what is expected and how to prepare by reading the Transfer and Viva pages of the For Students website.  You can also request a practice viva from your supervisor or from OD&PL.  

Help if you need it

Sometimes it might help to chat through how you are feeling.  Small things can feel overwhelming at times, especially if you have deadlines and may have concerns about your academic progress.  Help is always available and what feels overwhelming in the moment, won’t last forever, although sometimes it can be hard to see that on your own.  Don’t keep it to yourself.  We know academic life can be demanding which is why we have support services to help. 

Check in with someone for a chat

This can be a friend, your academic tutor or student support officer. You can find out who to contact in your school using this page of School contacts. If you are a Postgraduate Researcher, try the Graduate School contacts page

Online support

Free 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing is available to you by setting up an account using your university email address.  Togetherall has a range of self help resources and a community with other students who may be experiencing similar things to how you are feeling. 

One to one drop-in support

Student Counselling and Wellbeing run daily drop in sessions as well as offering 1:1 support.  Find information on how to book in for a chat.