During assessment periods we want to make sure that you receive the support you need in what can be a very stressful time for students. Our Exam Plus support brings you tips and resources to help you to stay calm, keep healthy and achieve your potential.

Mental health and wellbeing

You can access a number of self-care mental health resources from the counselling and mental health service as well as bookable appointments

Managing academic stress

It's normal to feel increased stress during the assessment period, but there are still steps you can take to help to reduce your concerns and help you to reach your potential. Take a look at the following sites for further tips on dealing with exam stress:

Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing is a helpful practice that can be particularly beneficial to help to reduce stress. Take a look at this demonstration video from Every Mind Matters and try to incorporate mindful breathing when you are experiencing academic stress.

Healthy eating

It can be tempting to slip out of healthy eating habits during a busy assessment period and rely on takeaways and convenience food. But it's really important to eat a balanced range of healthy food to help you to stay energised. Take a look at some quick, easy and healthy meals.

Walk and run routes

For a break from studying, take a look at Sport Keele’s walk and run routes on campus.


Try our NHS Fitness Studio for free online fitness videos, aerobics videos, strength and resistance videos, pilates and yoga videos and more.

Look after your mental health

Follow Action for Happiness's guidance for happier living to stay mentally well during times of stress.

Bullet journalling

A bullet journal can be a great way of helping you to get organised. The start of the assessment period is a great time to think about your academic targets, and record these in a creative way. Just search 'bullet journal' on any social media platform for ideas and inspiration.

Library support

Book onto a training workshop in the Library to get support in how to use the library resources effectively within your studies.

Study skills resource collection

There are lots of study skills resources from the library to support you during the assessment period.

Academic support

There is support available from the academic skills team with guides available on organising your studies, reading and research, planning and writing, and delivering presentations.

Write Direction

If you’re struggling with your assessments at the moment, whether it’s not knowing how to structure an essay, or finishing off a lab report, book a Write Direction appointment.

1. Create a study routine 

It’s important to plan your day effectively, rather than just waking up and deciding on each day what you are going to work on. You will make the most of your time this way. Use your phone calendar or get yourself a diary to help you plan. Include your daily to-do lists and deadlines.

2. Set achievable goals 

Instead of setting overall goals such as 'complete essay', break your goals down into smaller, more manageable steps, e.g. 'complete introduction by ...' This will help you to feel more motivated when you can tick off your achievements.

3. Work in time blocks and take breaks

Break your day into 60-90-minute blocks. Assign a task from your to-do list to each of the blocks so it links back to your goals. Make sure you take a break away from your workspace in between each study block, whether that's making a cup of tea with friends or going for a walk around the block.

There are lots of apps that can help with productive study, such as:

  • Brain Focus lets you set a timer for scheduling work and break slots.
  • Strict Workflow blocks websites that you visit to procrastinate.
  • Forest helps you set periods of time for concentration.

4. Avoid social media while studying  

This can be a hard step to take, but turning off notifications for apps like Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp will really make a difference. Every time you get a message and look at your phone, you're pulled away from what you were concentrating on and studies suggest that it can take nearly 30 minutes to refocus after being distracted.

5. Look after yourself and your environment

You won't be able to perform to your full potential if you don't take care of yourself. Make sure you get into a routine of eating well, moving your body and getting enough sleep. Making your study environment clutter-free can also have a positive impact on your ability to focus on your studies.

6. Consider time and place 

Think about when and where you work best. Are you a morning person or do you work better in the evening? You should try and work at the times you feel most productive where possible, rather than forcing yourself to study at a time where you won’t achieve as much. You should also consider whether you can concentrate better in your room, or if you need a distraction free environment such as the library silent study space. 


Make sure you continue to communicate with family, friends, and course-mates, even when you are busy. Finding the time to nurture your existing relationships with others, and connecting with new people, can help you feel better and live better. Speaking to family and friends away from university can act as a distraction from your studies when you need to take a break, and by connecting with course-mates you can support each other with your studies. 

Be active:

Take some time away from your desk or study area. You don’t have to go to the gym or be super-fit, but taking a walk around campus, going for a bike ride, or playing rounders with friends can be a good way to de-stress during the assessment period. Find an activity you enjoy and then it won’t feel like a chore. 

Keep learning:

This may sound like an obvious one during an assessment period, but learning new knowledge or skills can give you a sense of achievement and increase your confidence. So, keep your end goal in sight to help you stay motivated. You can also use your downtime to learn skills away from your programme, such as a cooking course, learning to play a musical instrument, or figuring out how to fix your bike. We also have a variety of student societies which might help you to learn something new or develop your hobbies.  

Give to others:

Even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering locally, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. During the assessment period, you could help others out by arranging a group study session, or sending a motivational message to a friend before they sit an exam. 

Be mindful:

Being more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you, can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. If you find yourself becoming stressed during a study session, take a break, complete a mindfulness activity, and you should feel more relaxed when you return to your studying. 


Consider what time of day you work best. There are benefits and drawbacks to all times of day, for example: 

  • Mornings – you will get your day off to a productive start, but it may mean you get less sleep.
  • Afternoons – this may allow you to make the most of time after lectures, but might not leave as long to get fully focussed on a task. 
  • Evenings – you will generally have more free time available, but this may take time away from social activities. 

1. At university: 

  • Location: needs to be suitable based on your needs and the type of work you are completing, such as the library silent study for in-depth writing or an informal learning space for group work. 
  • Equipment: there might be specialist equipment or software only available at university, or you might need to remember to bring certain equipment with you for a day of study (e.g. laptop charger). 
  • Travel: consider the time it will take for you to travel from your home, particularly at peak times, and whether this time could be better spent on study. 

2. At home / halls: 

  • Routine: it’s important to differentiate between leisure and study time if working from home, to help keep you focussed for an appropriate amount of time. 
  • Clothing: what you wear can affect how you approach your studies and how productive you feel. For example, you will want to feel comfortable, but if you are feeling too relaxed you may not feel motivated.  
  • Study space: it is best to work from a desk or table, rather than a bed or sofa, to help you to get into the right frame of mind for studying. Using a laptop from a bed or sofa can also lead to physical health issues such as poor posture or muscle aches.  
  • Plan for the day and week ahead. 
  • Work backwards from your deadlines and plan in contingency time, so that you are not working right up to the deadline in case something goes wrong such as feeling unwell or IT issues. 
  • Set realistic goals such as finish the reading for this essay this morning, write 250 words in the afternoon.
  • Break down the overall aim of the assessment as a whole into smaller, more manageable chunks. 
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and stay hydrated; this will help you to stay focussed. 
  • Get enough sleep – experts recommend 7-9 hours per night. 
  • Make sure you have access to the right resources before you start, such as books, equipment, lecture notes. 

If you need to talk to someone, whether it’s about your studies or life outside of them, we have a Student Experience and Support team based within your Faculty to support you, including a member of the team dedicated to every School.

You can book an appointment or attend a drop in to speak to the advisers in your School or Faculty.

If you’d prefer to contact them via another method, just get in touch with Student Services as usual.


All Keele students have access to 24/7 support from Health Assured, who we partner with to ensure that you can access appropriate wellbeing support at any time. You can speak to Health Assured or access their resources for advice on matters such as healthy eating and sleeping, managing stress and staying well.

The following services are available:

  • Comprehensive telephone helplines available 24/7
  • Formal counselling, in the form of either face to face or telephone sessions (as applicable)
  • Online video counselling and online CBT (as applicable)
  • Online portal
  • Wisdom app
  • Critical incident support