How To Combat Exam Stress

Every summer in the U.K., exam season rolls around. And students up and down the country start living in their textbooks. The study sessions, realizing that you should’ve revised more, and the double and triple checking of your exam schedule. It’s an overly stressful time for students and teachers alike. A study shows that the stress levels of students in the summer raises by 20%. So what can we do to reduce this? Here are just 5 simple tips on dealing with exam stress!

1) Keep it in perspective

The most important thing to remember when completing your exams is that they’re not the be all and end all of everything. You need to keep it in perspective. The result you get doesn’t represent you as a person, and you might have the chance to retake if you want to. It’s also important to remember that if you don’t have three A* A-Levels, you’re still employable. There’s lots of different ways to get into an industry. 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 along with other people. 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.

2) Get organised

Nothing is worse than looking at your exam timetable and not knowing where to start. That being said, get organised. As soon as you get your exam timetable, plan which revision you want to do first. When I was planning my revision, I prioritized the subjects that I found the most challenging. I also spent the morning of the exam going through flash cards, making sure the information was fresh in my mind. As well as going hard at the revision, make sure you have plenty of breaks. Nobody can work through the entire day. Give yourself plenty of rest and you can do the same amount of work in half the time or less. Also, don’t panic if you go slightly off schedule. Tomorrow is another day.

3) Get into some good habits

Take frequent breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. It’s important to let your brain absorb the information you’ve just learned. When you’re on your break, do something completely different – move away from your desk, walk about, or make some tea! Eating well will also help with concentration, as will drinking lots of water. You also need to make sure you get an ample amount of sleep. You can’t be expected to memorize facts if your brain hasn’t had time to rest. It’s also important not to revise in your bedroom. That’s your place to relax and sleep. You need a clear divide between your workstation and rest station.

4) Avoid the bad habits

I know it’s easy to want to stay up late and lie in. But if your sleep schedule is ruined, you’re going to be constantly tired. And like I stated earlier, your concentration is going to be lapsed if you haven’t had at least 8 hours of sleep. So maybe leave the Netflix binge-watching for after exams. Although it’s tempting to cram as much as you can, don’t set ridiculous goals for yourself. 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.

5) Get support from family and friends

If you’re feeling beyond stressed and like everything is on top of you, your family and friends can be a great support. When I was trying to organize my revision timetable, I got so stressed. I couldn’t figure out when to revise, when to rest, and when to take breaks. I asked my parents to look at my timetable. Together, we worked out a schedule that gave me ample time to revise as well as time to relax and socialize. Don’t be put off by peers saying they’re doing huge amounts of revision. As already mentioned, that’s probably not actually working out for them.

One of the key reasons we feel exam stress is from comparing ourselves to others. Thus, it’s important not to forget that your exam results are just a small part of who you are. If you can, discuss with your parents what they’re 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. 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, as a result, they may well be able to help think about practical strategies to deal with exam stress.

If you’re going through exams right now, good luck! Remember these tips and I’m sure you’ll do fine! Do exams stress you out? How do you stay calm? Leave a comment below!


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Edited by Viveca Shearin

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