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International students give their top tips on managing exam stress 

April is Stress Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to reflect on how stress impacts our lives and ways we can manage our stress levels.  

For students, given that April is also a time when they are preparing for exams and assignments, this is especially true. 

Here’s how international students cope with their stress during this sometimes challenging month. 

Enjoy nature and meet up with friends”

It’s always nice to see plants, flowers and animals. It makes me feel relaxed and puts what I’m facing aside for a moment and embrace the beauty of the world.  

Often, I’ll meet friends and have a conversation with them. It’s also a good way to release the stress and share the struggle or experience that we have had. Generally, I feel like meeting people is crucial for us to keep our mental health.  

Nowadays, we can talk with friends anytime, anywhere via phone. However, talking, laughing, or eating something together in person is very special and integral for my life as an international student. I always have a very enriching time! 

Sanako from Japan, BA (Hons) Art History, University of York

Take breaks

I love to take a break from everything, including my university work and social media. I wind down by watching some YouTube videos, a movie, or a series, and eat my favourite comfort food — some good old cake and custard. This helps me when I feel overwhelmed with school or even my personal life. 

Portia from Malawi, BA (Hons) Sociology, Nottingham Trent University 

Portia’s results day vlog
Have a destressing routine

When I feel overwhelmed or stressed out, I have three steps that encourage mindfulness:

  1. Clean up my room and take a shower 
  2. Grab a pen and paper and jot down my feelings 
  3. Ask myself “Why do I feel like this?” and work through the feeling  

By using these steps, I can unwind and de-stress as well as boost my self-confidence and increase my energy. 

Dahee from South Korea, MSc International Management, University of Brighton 

Break down big tasks into smaller tasks

Breaking down overwhelming tasks involves firstly prioritising them based on importance and then dividing them into smaller steps. This process allows me to gain a clearer understanding of the task at hand and facilitates my progress by tackling manageable portions.  

By setting realistic goals and timelines for each step, I’m able to maintain my motivation towards completing the overall objective. 

Amelia from Saint Lucia, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, UWE Bristol 

“Avoid procrastinating!

Effectively managing stress levels while at university, particularly during assessment periods, is crucial. I consistently made an effort to refrain from leaving tasks until the last minute or close to the deadline, recognising that doing so wouldn’t allow me enough time to prepare well for assessments.  

Jessica from Indonesia, BA (Hons) Music, University of York 

Don’t forget to stay healthy and do your hobbies

Engaging in hobbies or activities I enjoy, like painting, playing music, or spending time with friends, serves as a great stress reliever for me. Additionally, maintaining a balanced lifestyle with proper sleep, nutrition, and regular exercise helps me stay grounded and better equipped to handle academic pressures. 

Arzu from Azerbaijan, BSE Biomedical Engineering (Biomedical Devices), Arizona State University

Let Kaplan support you on your international student journey

If you’ve always dreamt of studying abroad but find starting the process daunting, we are here to help make the process simple and stress-free.  

We’ll help you prepare your application for your preferred degree and university in the UK, United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. We are also on hand to give visa support and any other pre-arrival assistance you might need.  

If you study with Kaplan in the UK, our partnership with Student Minds will make it easy to find the mental health support you need.

On top of that, you can make use of Kaplan’s own dedicated support from Student Services teams, as well as your university’s on-campus support staff.

To learn more about studying abroad with Kaplan, just get in touch. An Education Advisor will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

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