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Managing exam stress

Most of us find exams stressful. Good revision will help us feel more confident and help us pass. But there are lots of other things we can do during this time to help us turn up to the exam in good shape.

In the run-up to exams…

  • Don’t overwork. Short blocks of revision are more effective than marathons!
  • Developing a daily work routine and sticking to it is helpful
  • Use your friendship network! You could revise together, discussing problems as they crop up and you will have support on hand for those times when your motivation dips
  • It’s important to plan time for exercise & relaxation too as these will help reduce your stress levels. Exercise doesn’t have to be a tough session in the gym – it could be as simple as a walk around campus at lunchtime
  • Attend to getting a good night’s sleep.  Revision “All Nighters” will disturb your sleep pattern, leaving you tired and confused so you’ll make more mistakes and be more vulnerable to anxiety. Our page a good night’s sleep offers some helpful tips
  • Eat well. It’s not useful to skip meals as this can disturb your concentration and your sleep
  • Remember that you will have passed quite a few exams before you reached this stage. You can be successful again!

On the day…

  • Make sure you’ve got all the equipment you need but be sure to leave any notes outside of the exam room
  • Turn up in good time; latecomers will be turned away which is probably more stressful than the exam itself!
  • Don’t wind-up yourself and others with lots of talk about what you have/haven’t revised
  • You can make a deal with friends beforehand to help each other stick to this. It is useful to take a similar approach to conversations after the exam.
  • Take time to read all the questions properly so you can make good decisions about which you choose to answer; then divide the time according to the marks awarded to each question, not forgetting time to read through your answer.
  • If you start to feel panicky in the exam take a few moments to steady your breathing and plant your feet flat on the ground. Remember it’s okay to take your shoes off if it helps you feel at ease!
  • You might find it helpful to look at our Anxiety & Panic page as well…and Good Luck!

Useful Links

  • Mind-information on dealing with exam stress