How to Deal with Exam Stress

Already stressed for GCSEs, A levels or Uni exams? Here are a few tips that you can use to fight your nerves.

PREPARING Revision is probably the most important for exams; you need to know the content! This also improves your confidence when going into the exam room. If you are prepared for the exam, you will feel happier and more ready so don’t think revision and preparation is something you can just skip, it is worth it. However, we all know it can be hard to have the motivation to work and to revise if you don’t really want to. There are different ways you can revise and prepare and it is best to try them all out a bit and find out which one is best for you and which one works best with your revision. You can use revision cards, mind maps, writing and reading notes, practise questions or online tools like quizlet or other apps like IMindMap. The best way to revise is NOT by trying to pull an all-nighter because that does more harm than good. Revising on limited or no sleep does not work because your brain is not processing the information and it is wasting your time. Take short breaks between your studying so you have time to relax and rest. What works for me is short bursts of note-taking and I do about 30 mins and then a 5/10 min ‘tea’ break. I find that this makes my time more effective over the day. I also like to revise and work with my friends because I feel happier around them and they are always there for me to ask for help. As long as you are using the best method of learning for you and not overworking yourself, there is no need to stress because you know you have done the most you could do to give yourself the best possible chance of doing well in your exam. 

HEALTH It is so important to keep your physical and mental health in check. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Don’t skip meals and try eating superfoods or foods like dark chocolate, nuts, milk, yoghurt and salmon. Chamomile tea is also stress-reducing and for the morning before an exam, why not try some toast with jam or oatmeal for breakfast. Try to exercise to keep fit and happy. Personally, I’m not too keen on running as I don’t like it and I’m not very good but sometimes, I go for a nice walk or play a sport that I enjoy, use this as a break from studying. Don’t over-work yourself or cut out all the other things you want to do, just to spend more time working. Make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of sleep and not too much time on screens like your mobile or laptop. Even though it is hard, I find that not going on social media about 1 or 2 hours before bed helps me go to sleep earlier and easier. 

LOOKING FOR HELP Sometimes, you might need some extra help, more personal and specific to your stress and why you are stressing. There are several options available but what I find most helpful myself was talking to a parent or friend. Even if they don’t say anything, it is sometimes nice to just empty your mind and thoughts and have someone there to listen. 

By Sophia Brown