Tips in Fighting Exam Fatigue

Whenever the exams are closing in and you ask a student about how they are faring, the most common response they will give is “stressed”, “tired”, “pressured”, and so on. It is very common for students to be physically and mentally exhausted especially during times when major exams are fast approaching.

But why do these individuals feel like they are always tired and exhausted when the exams are approaching, and what possible ways are there to prevent these causes? This article focuses on the ways a student, or any other individual, can stock up on energy and avoid activities that may lead to energy depletion in preparation for the exams.

Reasons for energy deprivation

Everyone’s reason as to why they are energy-deprived will vary depending on the circumstances they are in. However, there are two main culprits that can be seen in almost everyone’s list of reasons for being energy deprived. And they are:

• Lack of sleep

Sleep is an integral part of the human being’s daily cycle. We even have a natural rhythm called the “circadian rhythm” to remind us when it is time to sleep and wake up. However, due to hectic schedules, late-night study sessions, or binge-watching a show on Netflix, the sleep we regularly get is not enough to fully recharge us for another day.

Sleep replenishes the body and helps regenerate and replenish any nutrient or tissue that has been used up for the day. This process can take approximately 7 and a half hours at the bare minimum. And when an individual does not have enough sleep, then they will most probably feel fatigued and tired the next day.

• Stress buildup

Of course, lack of sleep isn’t the only culprit when it comes to why some people feel tired or deprived of energy. Sometimes, it can also be caused by stress buildup. An individual can get a perfect 8 hours of sleep every day and still feel exhausted every time they wake up due to stress.

Stress is not so easily explained as how sleep can be. It is actually not observed in any animal that is free in the wild and is instead only observed to those who are encaged by humans. This might be why even though some individuals get enough rest and are provided with their necessities, they can still feel tired and exhausted due to the stress they are experiencing.

How to store up energy for the exams

It is kind of ironic how for one to store energy to be used during exams and to fight off exam fatigue, they need to put out energy before they see the effects of these methods. However, it would help to view these steps and activities as investments that will greatly profit you in terms of energy when the exams come. And without further ado, here are the top ways to store up on energy for the exams:

1. Rest adequately, regularly

The first thing that comes to mind whenever the topic of energy conservation or deprivation comes into play for most individuals is sleep. And that is also what is at the top of this list. Although some of you may no longer be children and can handle long and sleepless nights, it is still important to get enough rest before the exam period in order to store up on energy.

Think of rest as charging your phone every night when you sleep. The more time your body spends charging, the more percentage of energy is returned to the body and the longer it can last.

And not only should you sleep adequately during the exam period, but on a regular basis as well. This enables your body and brain to get enough rest needed to start a new day with a fresh supply of energy and vigor to help you get through any challenge.

2. Avoid cramming the night before the exam

While some students may find the thrill and sense of danger they experience when cramming to be beneficial for their learning, it is considered a bad practice when trying to stock up on energy for the exams.

Cramming, especially the night before an exam, will take away more energy than you initially thought. Aside from the fact that you will be behind on your sleep schedule, your brain also utilizes a large portion of your daily energy consumption. This means that the longer you stay up and overwork your brain, the more energy it consumes which can seriously deplete the amount of energy you have in store.

3. Don’t skip breakfast

When stocking up on energy, one should not forget the source of energy: fuel in the form of food. Food is where we get almost all of our daily nutritional needs like sugars, protein, and vitamins. And without it, our energy levels will slowly deplete until there is none left.

This is the reason why skipping breakfast is a huge mistake when trying to stock up on energy for the exams. Why would you not stock up on the fuel that supplies you with energy?

Yes, time management may be an issue for some in the sense that they no longer have any time to eat breakfast in the mornings. But if you had stuck to a schedule and not spent the previous night cramming, there would still have been enough time to chow down on some hearty breakfast to get you going.

4. Avoid being reliant on caffeine

It can be tempting at times to just rely on the power of caffeine and energy drinks to give you a surge of energy to last the entire exam period. However, this is a huge misunderstanding of what caffeine does to the human body. Caffeine does not actually give you energy, instead, it acts as a stimulant and an adenosine receptor antagonist.

It is a stimulant in a sense that it promotes alertness. On that same note, it can do this function by blocking the adenosine receptor from functioning properly, hence the title “adenosine receptor antagonist”. But what is adenosine you ask? Well, it is a chemical in your brain that promotes feelings of sleepiness and tiredness.

So, caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy, it only stops your body from realizing that you have spent more than what you have. This can greatly increase one’s feelings of sleepiness and fatigue once the effects of caffeine wear off. And you wouldn’t want it to wear off when you are taking an exam. So, try to avoid caffeine as much as you can during the exam period. And if it isn’t possible, then try not to rely on it too much.

5. Get enough sunlight

Plants aren’t the only living organism that depends on sunlight to get their energy (well, technically speaking almost all living organisms depend on the energy from the sun’s photons to survive). Human beings also need a little bit of sunlight to boost their energy production.

Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, and that can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive, and focused. Serotonin is a part of the group which a lot of individuals know as the “happy chemicals”. These chemicals help boost the mood, emotion, and energy levels of an individual. So, if you want a little bit more energy and a smile on your face, then don’t forget to get enough sunshine daily.

6. Avoid reaching out for junk foods

It is common practice for students who are studying or preparing for exams to grab a snack or two every now and then to keep the hunger away. However, if you want to have the optimal level of energy for when the exams arrive, it would be highly advisable to stay away from junk foods or any food that are rich in salt.

While salt may be a great way to add flavor to a meal or snack, too much of it can affect your energy levels. With too much salt in an individual’s bloodstream, they may experience difficulties sleeping well at night, which could lead to fatigue and feelings of tiredness the next day.

Instead of going for junk foods or any salty snack, it would be a great alternative to snack on some fresh fruits instead such as berries, bananas, or citrus fruits. These fruits contain tons of vitamins and antioxidants that can help keep your body healthy and supply you with the necessary nutrients to be at maximum performance. It is also not a bad idea to munch on whole grains which are rich in dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and protein.

7. Study with other people

If you have ever experienced doing a task by group, then you should realize that doing any activity as a group can be a lot easier and is less energy-intensive than doing it individually. Thus, if the problem of not having enough energy stems from the issue of not getting enough sleep due to constant studying, then you can always share the burden with other people.

Why not join or create a study group in order to maximize the efficiency of which you study? This will allow all the individuals in the group to share the burden of studying within themselves while also maximizing the amount of studying they can do. By allotting different topics to different individuals and then asking them later on to discuss the topics they have studied, the members will be able to divide the burden and ultimately lead to more time to rest.

And if you are too introverted to join or create a study group but still want help with your studying, then you can always hire a tutor to help you academically. And what better place to look for a tutor than at Singapore’s leading home and online-based tutoring agency, FamilyTutor. With thousands of highly skilled and capable tutors and a wide coverage of subjects, you can expect to find the right private tuition for you here in FamilyTutor.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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