Exams. It’s a word that’ll get most people’s stomachs sinking and hearts fluttering. Exam anxiety can be really tough to tackle and it can affect anyone – from the most super-conscientious student to the last-minute crammer. While it’s a tough ask to eliminate exam stress completely, there are some apps that can help make it all a little more manageable.
1. My Study Life
There’s nothing worse than rocking up to class only to find that you totally forgot that an exam was scheduled. Well, maybe rocking up to class empty-handed on a day when you’re meant to be submitting an assignment comes close.
That’s where My Study Life comes in. The app is kinda like a digital diary, and it’s designed to help you keep on top of due dates and study schedules.
It’s totally free, and can be used to track deadlines: just input an assignment name and the date that it’s due, and the app will remind you as often as you like. Best of all, it can synch up across a whole bunch of devices – and is even accessible offline, so it won’t chew up all your data.
One user commented that she liked that ‘the amount of information regarding classes, locations, times, etc. is all at your fingertips and easy to use’.
2. ReachOut Breathe
You know that terrible, tight sensation you get in your chest whenever you start to feel anxious? It’s caused by stress affecting your breathing, creating exactly the kind of pain that the ReachOut Breathe app is designed to help you with.
The free app helps you to slow and maintain your breathing, while also measuring your heart rate. As a result, it’s not only good for exam time; it’s useful for dealing with stress in general.
‘[It has] a really simple, modern design,’ one user wrote about the app. ‘It’s easy to access the breathing/heart rate screens as soon as the app is opened, rather than having to navigate through a lot of screens!
One of the hardest things to do when preparing for exams is getting into a good study routine. It’s just so easy to get distracted by the internet, friends, your phone or games. After all, you’ve got stacks of time! No need to rush studying, is there? But before you know it, you’re cramming the night before a test rather than preparing for it weeks in advance.
Enter HabitBull. A motivational app, HabitBull allows you to track and input good habits, even giving you a score based on how well you’re keeping up with routines. It’s great for noticing patterns in your behaviour, too: maybe there are specific days when you’re more alert than others, or maybe you tend to work better on the weekends rather than on school nights.
‘It offers young people control,’ one user wrote of the app. ‘I liked that the application is a gentle encouragement to uphold personal goals and good habits in your life.’
When you’re studying hard for an exam, often the first thing to go out the window is your sleep cycle. You stay up late, you wake up early… And even if you’re not spending all night studying, you’re spending all night thinking about studying, which is just as disruptive.
Recharge can help with that. The app helps track your sleep schedule, gives you some activities to do in the morning to get the blood pumping, allows you to track your mood, and – maybe best of all – comes with a super-loud, super-effective wake-up alarm.
‘[I liked] the inability to turn the alarm off without getting out of bed,’ one user wrote. ‘It made it much harder to ignore the alarm!’
Mindfulness – an anxiety-calming skill that helps you monitor worried thoughts – is a hard thing to master. To do it well, you have to really concentrate on stuff we usually totally ignore, and it takes a fair bit of practice. But practising mindfulness doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, Pause, a free app, has been designed to turn mindfulness into a kind of game.
A bright, colourful app, Pause gets you to focus on small blobs as they fly across the screen while calming music plays. This might make it sound simple, but that’s because it’s meant to be. By getting you to focus on very basic shapes, Pause can increase your concentration, slow your breathing, and generally calm you down if you’re feeling stressed.
‘[It’s great for] chill out time, and may also help get people to sleep,’ wrote one user of the app.