Exam stress? Off the Charts to the rescue

Inge van der Knaap
Inge van der Knaap is currently studying for her Bachelor in Economics. Next to her study she writes for Off the Charts and she is mainly interested in sustainable development, social impact, poverty and inequality, but also in issues concerning the field of health economics.

With the exams coming up Off the Charts presents a second list with handy tips. This time we provide you with all the knowledge you need to get the best preparation possible for your exams.

  • Start in time
    Do you master the skill of procrastination? Well you’re not the only one. Although it is difficult, it is essential to start preparing for a test well in advance. This not only leaves you enough time to actually study, but also prevents a lot of stress.
  • Set achievable goals
    Setting simple, small goals may help you become and stay motivated to study. By studying the material in small steps and celebrating each achieved goal, it is easier to stay positive and thus feel more confident about your exam.
  • Plan enough free time
    This is also an important and sometimes overlooked part of studying. It may seem as a good idea to lock yourself up in the library all week, but your brain does need a break too. It is therefore helpful to still meet with friends or watch a movie. Just try to stay away from binge watching an entire Netflix series.
  • Drink a lot of water
    It is not only healthy and good for your brain, tap water is also student budget proof! Though many believe it helps to drink energy drink before an exam or during studying, this actually makes you perform worse. After a sudden en short sugar rush, your body will experience a dip, which makes you perform less well. Keeping a balance is therefore more beneficial.
  • Do sports
    After a long day of sitting in the library, with appropriate breaks and liters of water of course, you may feel tired. Mind however, that this is your brain being tired of processing all the information. Your body hasn’t had any movement yet. Exercising helps relieving stress, makes you sleep well at night and as a free bonus: helps you achieve your perfect beach body. So grab your sports outfit and get some exercise!
  • Reward yourself
    Even though, at the end of an exhaustive study session you may still not know everything there is to know about trade economics, or you might not have achieved all your goals. Try to reward yourself and be kind to yourself. There is nothing wrong with being a bit perfectionistic and trying to get the best out of yourself, but neither is saying to yourself that you did well and deserve a treat.
  • Make a schedule
    To keep everything you need to do insightly and to prevent from constantly over thinking all the things you need to do: put it on paper. Plan your work and remember tip two and three when doing so.
  • Fresh in the morning
    The brain can absorb new information most easily after a good night’s rest. You’re awake and fresh and the brain has not had much information to process yet. It may be hard, but try to study in the morning/afternoon and plan your free time at night.
  • Create your own perfect study environment
    Some people perform best when they are in a study group, others like to be left alone. Some people need absolute silence, others need some background noise. It doesn’t really matter what your study environment looks like, as long as it works for you!
  • Put your phone away
    Of course one always wants to stay in touch with the world and especially smartphones are very addictive. Try to imagine, though, how important all those memes and messages from group apps really are. It probably won’t hurt to answer an hour later.



Off the Charts wishes you all the best for your upcoming exams. Stressing about your thesis? Dian wrote some helpful tips!


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