12:30 pm – 1:00 pm BST | Wednesday 19th April 2023
jobs.ac.uk partnered up with Dr Petra Boynton, Research Consultant, to host a webinar on ‘Motivation and worrying about what comes after taking exam finals’, which focused on coping with the stress of exam finals, advice on keeping motivated during exam season and exploring your job prospects after graduating from university.
Our full webinar recording is available to watch now or read on for a summary of Dr Petra Boynton’s advice, resources, and tool kits she put together to support students and graduates on this topic.
How to reduce anxiety when revising?
- Remember, you’ve been working towards this for a long time, now is your chance to demonstrate what you know and can do – it’s your time to shine
- Schedule your time carefully, prioritise breaks, and don’t over-study (you won’t take in information if you just keep cramming)
- Build in positive things you enjoy throughout the day, week, and across exam season
- Use past papers and ask for example answers
- Work and revise with friends
- Note your study techniques or ask others for their ideas (e.g., set a timer and write all you know about something, make a list of what you don’t know/can’t remember then seek help from tutors)
How to stay motivated after exam results are released?
- Allow yourself a break! You won’t feel motivated if you’re exhausted
- Don’t worry if you feel deflated or sad – many people experience a comedown or crash after an intense period like finals
- It’s okay not to know what to do next, nor to have the perfect/dream job lined up
- Have things that you can also cancel easily to enjoy and look forward to
- Think about a routine to maintain stability and consistency
- Plan a holiday or visit with friends or family
Between exams finishing and results day
- Make a list of things you need to do after exams but before you get results e.g., get advice on CV, email, and letter writing; how to write job applications; interview practice. Or sorting accommodation, relocating, etc. Here is a free CV and a cover letter template:
- Also identify any sources of support you may need post-university so you’re not left without care (e.g., who can give a reference; or how to apply for access to work benefits if you’re disabled)
How to reduce worrying about final grades? And I’m finding I’m feeling anxious about my exams and I’m not retaining all my revisions, so what methods can you give to help with lowering my stress?
- Worry leads to panic and panic means you don’t feel in control. The less control you feel the more you worry. It also means you won’t be able to process and retain information, again, fuelling panic
- Take control by focusing on study support, revision plans, activities, working with others, and using all assistance available. From that, you can stop spiralling and worrying about final grades
- The final grade will depend on how you manage, plan, rest, revise, and focus now. Keep your attention on the next hour, day, or week rather than worrying about what-ifs. The Mix has some useful resources to help:
- You may find the Circles of Control activity helps you (identify and address things you can change and let go of what you can’t). Details on how to do it here:
- You can also try meditation, relaxation, or mindfulness and there is support available in the form of apps, downloads, guides, and videos from:
- Remember, some people find relaxation, breathing, and meditation techniques worsen symptoms so stop if they make you feel unwell. Other activities from sports to baking, watching movies to dancing can be just as good
What advice can you give to a graduate student with learning difficulties i.e., dyslexia?
- If you’re still at university, speak to your Disability Officer to ensure you have accommodations and ask about what other support you may be entitled to when you leave. That can include help with applications, checking content, and ensuring you’re completing everything as needed.
- In the UK, access to work can help, and you may find coaches or peer support can be great to build confidence. Using things like spelling and grammar checks, screen readers and dyslexia-friendly fonts can be invaluable
- You can take advice from disability charities:
- It’s not just about applying for jobs and navigating job searches, but also about if, when, and how to disclose your disability
What can be some of the long-term strategies for addressing students’ post-graduation stress and demotivation because of unemployment and employability?
- Don’t compare yourself with others – seek out peers who are supportive, and not competitive
- Planning, dreaming, wishing, and hoping about the future are all good. But be open to opportunities as well. Overthinking or overplanning can sometimes limit more than it helps
- There’s a myth that a degree automatically guarantees your dream job or even any job. This isn’t your fault if you’ve been misled but it is easy to blame yourself if things don’t go the way you expect them to
What are the best places to look for relevant jobs? Is it mostly job boards like LinkedIn?
- It depends on the kind of job you want. So, if you are looking for jobs in particular industries, they will often advertise in trade magazines and trade websites
- You can sign up for job alerts e.g., jobs.ac.uk offers daily job alerts when you sign up and set the alerts you’d like to receive:
- Go to your careers officer at the university and mention what jobs you would like to get into, and they will be able to help you filter down what jobs they have available within the university
How to stay motivated after exams and applying for graduate jobs?
- Get support between your exams finishing and results day from the study skills or careers office and other places like the student’s union. Seek feedback on your CV, cover letter, and interview technique. This may be useful if you’re an anxious person who struggles with interviews or presentations. Here is a link to help you practice common interview questions and suggested responses:
- If you are disabled, have a learning disability, or are working in an additional language you may want support in applying for jobs so you’re not discriminated against and can showcase your skills effectively
How to stay motivated while having rejections from several job applications? and How can we overcome stress if we don’t get a job after graduation?
- To help you apply for any job make a note of all the skills you’ve acquired during your degree. Not just the subject you’ve learned but things like using databases, report writing, time management, teamwork, presenting skills, and problem-solving. Do this with friends if it helps to pool ideas. These will be things employers want to know about and candidates forget to mention. Don’t sell yourself short!
View the full webinar recording to watch the summary of the main points discussed by Petra Boynton or browse jobs.ac.uk’ s career advice section to find articles to help with Jobseeking and Interview Tips – career-advice.jobs.ac.uk
Meet the speaker:
Petra Boynton, Research Consultant
Petra is a Social Psychologist, specialising in supporting charities, universities and other organisations to make research more accessible, ethical, safe and effective. Her current focus is on improving proactive and whole-campus approaches, pastoral care and supervision; to prevent and respond to staff and student needs. Petra applies her research through advice-giving, which can be found in her most recent book ‘Being Well In Academia: ways to feel stronger, safer and more connected’ (Routledge, 2020).