Exam prep & self care

Worried about your studies or exams? Feeling good and prepared can help you reach your goals. Use the tips and strategies on this page to prepare for exams and take care of yourself.

Active study tips

Tips for effective studying 

  • Make a list of the tasks you need to complete. Choose the most important ones and finish these tasks first.
  • Take advantage of UBC resources. Try toolkits from the Learning Commons like  the reading textbooks and taking notes toolkits to boost your productivity inside and outside of class.

Tip for the night before

  • Get enough quality sleep. Your brain is at its quickest and most adept after seven to nine hours of sleep.

Other ways to feel prepared

Peer Academic Coaching    Time Management   Preparing for Exams

Ways to thrive

Tips for gaining perspective

  • Try a mini meditation. Breathe in deeply, count to five, and exhale slowly. Watch your lower abdomen expand and deflate. Repeat five times.
  • Don’t try to be perfect: remember, your best is something to be proud of.

Tips to help you manage stress

  • Engage in positive self-talk to help build self-confidence.

  • If you’re experiencing exam-related stress or anxiety, remind yourself that the exam period has an end date and it will be over soon.

  • See more about managing stress below.

Tips for eating well

  • Eat a breakfast high in protein and fibre within two hours of waking up to jump start your metabolism.

  • Eat a snack or small meal that includes protein, veggies or fruit, and a complex carbohydrate every three-to-four hours while awake.

Tips for getting active

  • Find 10-minute workout breaks

    Getting active doesn’t require hours in the gym. Take a break between classes and walk to the coffee shop that’s furthest away, take the long way to your next class, or go for a quick evening run (always stick to well-lit and safe routes).

  • Join a recreation-focused AMS Club

    Get active with others. Join a recreation-focused club like the Badminton Club, the Dance Club, the Sailing Club, or the Ultimate Club, among many others.

Meditation and other ways to feel good

Managing stress

Manage stress and anxiety over the long term

Believing that you are able to manage stress and anxiety is important because your perceptions can have a large impact on your health. Research has shown that students’ perceived ability to manage stress can reduce their likelihood of becoming depressed”1.

1Sawatzky et al, "Resilience mediates the effect of stress on depression in university students," Journal of American College Health, submitted for review July 7, 2010

  • Identify the things that trigger your stress or anxiety

    What causes your stress or anxiety? Keep a log of your stress triggers and review them periodically.

  • Identify the times that you tend to get stressed or anxious

    Are you most stressed in the morning? Before class? Studying in the evening? Monitor the times you feel most stressed or anxious and include these times in your stress log.

  • Think of ways to change your responses to stress and anxiety

    Are there unhealthy triggers you can avoid or minimize your exposure to? Can you change how you approach triggers or the way that you manage stress and anxiety?

    For example, if studying for a difficult class alone in your room at night triggers a stress response, you might try studying with a friend or in a group at a different location and time of day. You might also want to try taking other steps to minimize the stress triggered by this activity, such as asking your professor or TA for help, accessing academic resources like the Learning Commons, or engaging in positive self-talk when you begin feeling stressed.

Learn more about stress

Get help with stress and exam prep

Wellness Centre

Wellness Centre


Telephone: 604 822 8450

Life Building
Room 1400, 6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


Mon10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wed10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Chapman Learning Commons

Chapman Learning Commons

Telephone: 604 827 3909

Web: Website
Irving K Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

View map


Mon8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun10:00 am - 10:00 pm