The Five Stages of Exam Stress at Loughborough

“EXAM DATES ANNOUNCED”… continues to not revise


You’re sitting with your Mum and your cat in the living room watching reruns of Come Dine with Me, when suddenly you get the email: ‘EXAM DATES ANNOUNCED’, or something similar to that horrific statement. Your heart fills with dread. Exams? But it’s the Easter holidays, you haven’t even finished your coursework yet. You go on to find that you have three exams in two weeks. The unsavoury reminder of exams puts you off from the MaltEaster bunny you were about to obliterate… for five seconds. Exams are ages away. Literally a month and a bit.

Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination

Everyone procrastinates. It’s a natural human reaction. You’re a few weeks into the term now, coursework still isn’t finished and exams are starting in two weeks. Procrastination takes many forms. To list a few: shopping, wandering around Loughborough (even though that’s pointless), cleaning, eating, going out, taking a three hour shower, scrolling through your phone for 9 years. Then you continue to watch Netflix stressfully.

Getting ‘a bit of fresh air’ to procrastinate

Why won’t my brain work?

You’ve pretty much reached the end of your tether. This lack of work is starting to stress you out, but you can’t do anything about it. You can’t physically start revising. The amount of times you have entered LEARN to look at the exam questions and frantically clicked off. YOU ARE IN DENIAL. Exams are less than two weeks away, and yet, you are completely calm. Have you ever been so stressed, that you are calm? This is the stage of exam stress you have reached. Your stress peaked in the procrastination stage, and now you have accepted your fate. During this stage, you have probably made the fatal error of going to a Stuesday, well, they don’t call it Stupid Tuesday for nothing. Now your day off, when you were meant to start revising, has been postponed until Thursday.

Holiday shopping and total avoidance of revision

A trip to Pilkington

It’s a week until your exams start, and now you have no choice. You have to start revising, for real. There’s a definite possibility that you’ve forgotten how to revise. Netflix has blown your brain cells, and you can’t wrap your head around any of it. Or maybe you’ve just left it too late and there’s too much to fit in. Either way, you decide to walk to the pinnacle of revision and general lifetogetherness: Pilkington Library. The library during exam period is more stressful than all of these stages put together. You walk in to find that every computer/work space is busy. And if you are honest, the first thing that pops into your mind is, ‘how long have these people been revising?’ You see at least five people from your course, and that stresses you out even more. During this stage you hate yourself, hate yourself for being a lazy, procrastinating student. Once you finally find a desk, you start copying and pasting lecture notes onto your new ‘revision’ document. And so it begins…

You managed 5 minutes of revision, treat yourself to a KFC!

The end result

The worst thing about exams is Dan Maskell Tennis Centre. It’s terrifying. Potentially the biggest room you’ve ever been in. You sit down and await your fate. You are still nervous by this point. However, as soon as you can open your exam paper and you see the awful questions, you are fine. You have done this to yourself. There’s no going back. Well, this relative calmness is all well and good, until you peek at your neighbour and see they have written two pages in the time you’ve managed half a plan. You decide you need to get a move on, so you check the clock, your eyes wander around the room and you spend a good three minutes of valuable time, just having a look around.

Finally the exam has finished. The period of celebration lasts 0.7 seconds because the realisation you have another one in four days hits you. Now it’s time to start again from stage one, however, you don’t have a month this time, you have three days. So you begin by making a lot of unnecessary healthy food.

Loughborough University