How to Cope With Burnout and Study Guilt

6 months ago


It’s officially go-time! By now, you’ve already started your exams, or are anxiously awaiting them in the weeks to come. Or maybe you have no idea what to revise and how to even get motivated to revise - you’re starting to burn out!

If you fit in the final category, don’t beat yourself up - it’s okay. We are super proud of you for making it through this year and want to remind you that you’ve done amazing!


Burnout can happen to even the best of us. That drive to excel and achieve a certain score for your subjects? To get a grade that will guarantee you a place in your dream course? No matter what your motivation or performance levels were, burnout can make it really hard to get back on track to that same level of drive.

So, how do you overcome it? Here are a few tips to get you starting the pedals again!

1. Disconnect

As important as your final exams are, balance is the key to wellbeing and keeping motivated. The exam period is hectic, to say the least. Stress levels are at an all-time high, as you revise your subjects for hours, cram in practice exams and frantically contact teachers and tutors for help. It’s easy to neglect basic needs like sleeping!

So we ask you one thing - stop. It might sound crazy to consider taking any breaks when your exam is in a few days. And yes, breaks can sometimes interrupt your study flow and feel like a waste of time.

But try shutting your laptop or leaving your study area. Take a quick break to grab some water, a snack, or take 20 minutes to walk around your neighbourhood for some air. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how long your break is, but disconnecting your brain from studying for a brief moment by taking care of yourself makes a world of difference.


2. Set simple goals

The most important thing is to pace yourself. If you’re experiencing burnout, you may simply be setting yourself unrealistic or overly ambitious goals. We’ve all been there! But having goals like:

“I’m going to do 15+ practice exams for all my subjects, finish all my exams early, get my first preference uni course and get at least a final score above 95+.”

Nothing is wrong with these goals! But it is important to know your limits. Recognise whether these goals are attainable with your current grades and time remaining. And if they aren’t, do yourself a favour and lessen the burden on yourself to attain goals you set at the start of the year.

You will only be setting yourself up for disappointment by trying to achieve them. Instead, revise your goals and set smaller milestones for yourself. It can be lowering your desired final score, or simply revising a single concept.

It is 100% okay to change your goals and expectations throughout your final year. Remember, this does not make you a failure in any way. Doing the best you can is what you should be really proud of!


3. Take in the bigger picture

You might have heard your teachers say: “Year 12 is not a race, but a marathon.” At this rate, hearing this might sound like listening to a broken record. But there is definite truth in this statement.

Exam period a rush to the finish line, squeezing in your final practice exams, essays, revision notes - all that jazz. It’s terrifying to feel like your entire high school performance relies solely on these final weeks, your future is dictated by how well you do in a 2-3 hour exam.

But take a step back and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. You’ve overcome all the hard yards, assessments and tests throughout this year. Whilst it can feel like everything weighs on these last few exams, we promise you that it doesn’t.

The reality is that year 12 is not the be-all end-all. Once you get out into the world, you’ll realise there are so many opportunities, paths and directions you can take with your future. In the grand scheme of things, year 12 is merely one chapter in your life. Not only year 12 is a marathon, but so is life in general!

So if you’re sitting at home, stressed out and feeling guilty for not studying enough, know that you will have so many chances to explore and fulfil your future career.


Don’t forget, it’s okay to feel a bit burnt out at this stage. Just remember that the finish line is in site! We hope these tips have helped you in managing your study guilt and loss of motivation. Feel free to reach out to us at RESN Help and RESN Wiki if you’re feeling lost with revision, or for exam tips and advice.

Make sure to reach out to friends, family or mental health professionals such as Kids Helpline and Beyond Blue for extra support. At RESN, we’re all here for you and are cheering you on for your final run to the finish line!

You’ve got this!

By Catherine Le

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