A company offering software to help undergraduates cut out distractions has created this graphic on how to deal with exam stress. Does the generation now beginning Finals truly need such assistance — and if so, how did their predecessors cope without it?

Is exam stress getting worse?

Infographic © Stop Procrastinating, reproduced with permission. Photograph © Oxford University Images / Greg Smolonski.


By Roy G Waters

I recommend that an effective way to reduce stress is to get into a balanced daily routine - sounds boring but I believe most human beings feel comfortable knowing what they're going to do today, rather than having to suffer uncertainty of not knowing. I don't remember excessive stress at finals (1963) and my routine was simple - get up at 07.45 in time for breakfast ; work / study from 09.00 to 13.00 ; do sports in the afternoon ; drink / dance in the evening. Every day the same in finals year - how boring ?


My Schools took place in 1970.
One of Teddy Hall's students was a scholar of Chinese (which has nothing to do with the story).
He decided to test the subfusc rule, in which we all had to appear at Schools otherwise disaster.
He went in subfusc drag, stockings and all.
They could do nothing about it as the letter of the law had been fulfilled.
Our Principal at the time, the famous JND Kelly, said to him amid the furore which followed: "Dear boy, I agree with the principle but not the practice".
Too late.

By jerome rhodes

Let's hope they did not resort to graphics of such poor visibility because they violate rules for print on colour background!

By Rowena Purdy

Throiughout my time at Oxford as a mature student reading Oriental Studies, my daily routine never changed: 0530 to 0630 - character revision; breakfast; lectures and/or tutorials till lunch; more work / tutorials / revision till 1730; dinner; more work/revision; bed at 2200.
No stress there, then!

By Jim Moss

The two key things that created success for me were 1) Having a revision plan starting in February - nothing like some long term planning and 2) Mentally preparing by telling myself that as long as I had done my best, then I could leave with whatever degree feeling content. This really help manage the stress. It worked. Finished with the Top First in Engineering in 1979 (much to my surprise and others too I sense).

By Peter Hulse

"2000 college students". Which college?

I confess I don't remember doing much specific revision (1972), but then I don't remember much stress either. I'm sure my class of degree didn't affect my career in the slightest, and I'm surprised that modern "college students" should think otherwise.

By Paul Gale

My advice is get to the exam schools well before the exam starts. Teddy Hall was/is just opposite the schools which gave the feeling that one couldn't be late. So crossing the High Street (1984) at about 09:27, we couldn't even get into the building because of the huge number of students starting their exams on that morning. Consequently, we couldn't hear the loud-speaker announcing which room we were in (because Biochemistry was one of the first to be called). I eventually found my desk at 09:45, thus missing the first 15 minutes of the exam. So planning for the unexpected on the exam day itself is key to minimising any last minute stress.

By William O'Chee

I did my Schools in 1987, and cannot confess to having any great stress. During the preceeding three yeas I undoubtedly spent more time on the river than in the law library, and saw no reason to change that in Trinity term; in fact I spent the afternoon before my first exam coxing a pair for a friend of mine from another college.

My only moment of stress was the night before my final exam when I realised (after the JCR Garden Party) that I had left my notes in the Codrington Library, which was by then locked. As I had not begun revising, I had to beg a tutor, who was much more inebriated than I, to vouch for me at the All Souls Porters Lodge so that I could retrieve them. I survived.

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