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How to Manage Final Year Exam Stress and Job Applications

Final year. Plus job applications. Equals ‘mare. But don’t panic; there’s a way through this, dear friends!

The early bird wasn’t joking

When it comes to job applications for graduate positions in the financial services and banking, there is one thing to remember: apply early! Many deadlines occur between November and January in your final year, which does, rather inconveniently, sometimes clash with revision time for exams.

Find out the deadline for the programmes that interest you, and get your application in as soon as you can when you begin final year. Some programmes also fill up on a first-come-first-served basis, so this way you’ll be giving yourself the best fighting chance to progressing to an assessment day or interview.

The sooner you get your jobs applications out of the way with, the more time you’ll have to study and prepare for final projects and exams around and just after the Christmas break.

Already missed the deadlines? Whoops… Here’s what to do:

If you’ve missed the boat on the deadline for your first choice programme, then all is not lost. You could always wait until next year and find another form of work to fill in the time, or perhaps take some time out to work abroad in something that would enhance your CV further?

Bear in mind, though, that industries such as investment banking are incredibly competitive, and there isn’t just one fish in the sea when it comes to graduate jobs in finance! There may well still be related programmes with open applications to have a crack at, so do your research for these and give it a go. After all, you’ve got your whole life to work. Why hold out for just one thing right now?

Keep track of your course deadlines from the start

Get them ingrained in your head from the beginning of each module so that you can prioritise. If you can do it now, of all times, then it’s a skill you can apply and adapt in the working world – where prioritisation is key!

Look after body, mind and soul

Stress can get to the best of us, and the final year of university is notorious as a swarming snowball of stress-inducing events. But it can be managed and beaten!

You need to get into good habits for taking care of yourself now. After all, if this year gets too much, how are you going to cope with the demands of an industry such as investment banking or wealth management? You owe it to yourself to put your health first.

Take regular exercise. This doesn’t have to mean caning the gym every single day! A swim, game of squash with a friend, or even a brisk walk around the park three or four times a week is great stuff for your body and stress busting. This goes for any time of your life, not just your final year at university! Embrace the endorphins…

Make the time and effort to eat healthily, too. Plenty of vitamins and nutrients are essential for your energy levels and brain power. Man cannot function on coffee alone! You’ll perform much better if you’re charged up with good energy resources, and you’ll be less likely to get poorly at stressful times.

Oh, and whilst you’re at it, just take a bit of time for yourself each day in general, okay? Whether it’s sat down with a cup of tea and the paper for half an hour each day (chillaxed commercial awareness, oh yeah!), a yoga or meditation class (increasingly all the rage in financial institutions and law firms as awareness of the importance of mental health increases), or even  just a little nap if you need one (though preferably not in your final lectures), if you just take some time to switch off and concentrate on you for a while each day, you’ll find you’ll be much more able to focus, concentrate, and do yourself justice in your final year.

By Jos Weale, Editor, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com