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This is how you can manage your examination stress

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Hey your exams are coming up? Sometimes the pressure you feel can help keep you focused, other times it can cause stress. Working towards exams can creating feelings of worry and being under pressure, especially at university where you’re aiming for a degree. However there are a range of things that you can do to help deal with the stress that you might be feeling... Lots of people will tell you this, because it's true - exams aren't everything. Whatever happens in your exams, you can still be successful in life afterwards. So if you don't do as well as you'd hoped, try to keep things in perspective. Employers don't just look at your exam scores. They're just as interested in your attitude, your transferable skills and how well you'll get on with other people.Exam success doesn't define you as a person. Everyone copes differently in different situations and there's so much more to your personality than how well you can respond to an exam.Think about how far you've come already. You've already done incredibly well to get to university, and stopping or failing exams at this point isn't 'throwing away' your past success. Check out these tips to help you cope with stress during exam time.

This is how exam stress look like

  • Feeling confused

  • Losing touch with friends

  • Feeling moody and low

  • Having trouble making decisions

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Lack of motivation to do anything

  • Trouble sleeping or getting out of bed

  • Tense muscles or headaches

  • Having an upset stomach or feeling sick

  • Fidgeting, nail biting, teeth grinding

Why do people experience exam stress?

  • Worry they might fail

  • Don't feel prepared

  • Want to do really well

  • Don’t have much time to study

  • Need to get a certain result

  • Don’t think they will do well

  • Find it hard to understand what they’re studying

  • Feel pressure from family to get good marks

  • Feel they need to compete with others

  • Have other things happening in their life

  • Cartoon laptop desk

  • Getting ready to study

Good study habits always help

  • Picture your exams as a time-bound project. Are the exams 60 days away? That's your 60-day challenge. Best of all, there's a definite end point. Find a quiet place to study without distractions.

  • Set-up your study space. Make sure it’s not too cluttered and has everything you might need.

  • Find out as much as you can about the exam so you can prepare.

  • Ask your teacher if you’re unsure of what will be tested.

  • Learn to make ‘mind maps’ and use them to collect ideas and thoughts, use bright colours to help remember important links.

  • Make a plan of what you want to work on in each study session. Break it down into small tasks and work on one task at a time.

  • Take regular short breaks – use this time to have a drink, get something to eat or play with a pet.

  • Ask for help - If you’re having trouble with something you’re studying ask a teacher, friend, sibling or parent to help.

  • Tips to help while studying

  • Try these tips and tricks:

  • Stick to a routine by eating and sleeping at around the same time each day

  • Get a good night’s sleep. This gives your brain time to recharge and remember what you’ve learnt.

  • Give yourself mini rewards once you achieve your study goals – watch a TV show or go for a run

  • Keep focused on your study – don’t let other stuff like friendship worries distract you.

  • Avoid junk food - it will bring a sudden burst of energy and then fall away quickly leaving you feeling worn-out.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet - lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts and protein are all good for the brain and energy levels.

  • Allow yourself time to rest – try out some relaxation activities like deep breathing, meditation or listening to music.

  • Cut back on energy drinks they can increase nerves. Drink lots of water instead!

Here are some tips for the exam day

  • Work out what you need to take with you on exam day and organize this the night before.

  • Eat a good, light breakfast – this will help with energy and concentration.

  • Go to the toilet before the exam starts.

  • If you feel yourself getting worried before your exam - spend some time focusing on your breathing.

  • When you sit down to do your exam, take time to slow your breathing and relax.

  • Read through the exam paper carefully. Underline key words and instructions.

  • Work out how long you have for each question or section.

  • Aim to have time to re-read answers through and to make any changes.

  • Work on the questions that you find easiest first.

Work out the basics: which exams you have, how the marks are allocated, and how much you have to learn for each one. Don't expect to learn everything; but having in mind where you'll get the marks can help you priorities. Break your revision down into small chunks, and form a plan. Once you've got a plan, you won't have any more dilemmas at the start of the day about what to work on. Schedule in plenty of free time to unwind, and protect this time. Nobody can work all day every day. If you give yourself plenty of rest you can do the same amount of work in half the time or less. Equally, don't panic if you go slightly off schedule - tomorrow is another day. Take frequent breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. You could use a technique like POMODORO, that helps you to take regular breaks. When you do take a break make sure you don’t stay at your desk, you could go for a walk or even just make a cup of tea!

Eat well. Keep a good blood sugars level to avoid highs and lows of energy, by eating slow-release foods like bread, rice, pasta, fruit and veg. Drink lots of water. People often underestimate how much hydration helps! Think about when and where you work best. Not everyone is a morning person, and some people don’t find the library a productive place to work. There's no one best place or time to work - it's about what works for you.

Keep yourself active. Even a short walk will do. Exercising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up. Try to get about 8 hours' sleep a night. If you're stressed about not being able to sleep, there are lots of ways to aid a good night's sleep. Find activities that help you relax. Maybe it's a hot bath, watching a TV show, or a creative activity. Schedule this down-time into your timetable. Don't set yourself ridiculous goals. Nobody can revise 10 topics in a day! Avoid setting the day up to be a disappointment. Don't cut out all the enjoyment from your life. It's tempting to decide you'll just knuckle down to work and "focus", but this is counterproductive - it's impossible to focus without giving your brain rest by doing other activities. Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration in the long term. It'll also make it more difficult to get that much-needed sleep. Don't be put off by friends saying that they are doing huge amounts of revision. As already mentioned, that's probably not actually a productive or efficient way of working long term. One of the key reasons people feel exam stress is due to comparing themselves to other people. If you can, discuss with your parents what they are expecting you to achieve. Parents with steep or unrealistic expectations will just add unnecessary pressure. It's helpful to let them know what you think you have the capacity to achieve, and to insist that the best way to get there is to have support from your parents, not pressure. If you're feeling really worried or anxious, chat to a good friend, family member, or tutor. It helps to get it out of your system, and they may well be able to help think about practical strategies to deal with exam stress.

Once you've done an exam, try to forget about it. There's nothing you can do about it, and worrying won't change your mark.

"Always remember life is a long novel passing an exam is only one chapter the story. Failing an exam is not failure in life, you will always get a second chance or another way to reach your goals"

If you’re feeling stressed about exams, you’re not alone. Talking to someone and finding ways to cope during exam time can help. If you need help coping with exam stress, give us a call, start a Whatsapp Chat at (7068390099) or email us at today.

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