Managing Academic Pressures

Studying is about learning and not everything will be perfect. Working harder to attempt to reduce pressure can lead to ‘burn-out’. You are not alone in feeling under pressure at times to meet deadlines or complete work to the best standard possible and there are lots of staff at the university who are able to provide additional support and guidance if you are struggling with this.

It can be easy to fall into cycles which increase feelings of pressure (such as the example below). We would encourage you to look at the resources we have included on these pages to try and break this cycle.

The diagram shows 6 individual circles linked together in a larger circle by arrows, to illustrate the cycle of pressure. The text in each individual circle, starting from the top in a clockwise direction is as follows: I aim to be brilliant; Anxiety about missing something or making a mistake; Something doesn’t go as well as I hoped; I feel inadequate; I must work harder and harder; I feel under intense pressure and then back to I aim to be brilliant.

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
  • Look at our top tips for wellbeing 
  • Take control – make a plan of how to manage the tasks you have.
  • Make a checklist so you can see the progress you are making
  • Book in time to do something you enjoy
  • Learn to prioritise your work and leave the least important tasks until last
  • Schedule your most difficult tasks for the time of day when you usually have the most energy
  • Make a list of the things that are going well



At times it can be helpful to set high goals, but if these are unrealistic it can have a negative impact on your mood and also the goal you are working towards.

Some top tips

  • Set goals based on what you want, not based on the expectations of others. Goals should be realistic, internal and attainable. It may be helpful to look at this webpage which includes some examples of SMART goals.
  • Break up large tasks into smaller goals and work through these sequentially
  • Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes
  • If you make a mistake, or something does not go well, focus on what you can learn from it
  • Recognise and challenge negative thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’

Other Related Pages

Mental health & Wellbeing
Close up picture of a tree trunk that appears to have almost fallen down, so that the branch coming off it is almost horizontal with the ground.  A vertical wooden sculpture of a forearm with a large open hand has been positioned so that it appears to be supporting one of the low branches of the tree.
Mental health & Wellbeing
Mental health & Wellbeing
Mental health & Wellbeing
Mental health & Wellbeing
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