Coping with exam stress

It’s that time of the year again where students are revising and sitting exams.  This can be a stressful time for students and parents alike but remember it’s normal to feel a little bit of stress, some level of stress can help you focus; though too much of it can make you feel overwhelmed or out of control and can make it harder for you to take in information.


When we feel stressed, the fight or flight response is activated. This may cause fatigue, difficulty in getting up, poor appetite and increased irritability if maintained for long periods of time. I would like to offer some useful tips to help you cope with exam stress …


1.)  How and where you work

Think about the time of the day that you feel most alert and the place that makes you focus most and where you feel calmest. You could even alternate your work space to keep revision fresh and to avoid boredom.


2.)  Have an early night’s sleep

Revising late at night can make it very hard for you to get up for the actual exam, not to mention that it isn’t good for your health! Ensure you have done some revision before tea and stop revising 1 hour before you go to sleep, so that your brain has a chance to switch off.


3.)  Try not to compare

Avoid comparing your knowledge with friends before or after the exam. Just because they appear to know more, does not mean that they actually do, or that they will do better in the exam. Comparing will only make you or your friends worry more about things you can’t change


4.)  Eat well

A quick fast food fix may look tempting when you are up late revising. However, your body and brain need proper fuel for revision. Eat fresh fruit and veg, swap chocolate snacks for high protein nuts, and try not to consume too much caffeine to ensure good quality sleep.


5.)  Treat yourself

Make sure you plan in revision breaks to rest your brain. Treat yourself with something you enjoy, go for a walk or 20 minutes of your favourite TV show. It will motivate you to concentrate on your revision.


6.)  Exercise

It can seem like you don’t have the time to exercise when you are revising, but it actually makes you more productive afterwards! It helps you to de-stress and releases feel-good endorphins. Try walking, going to the gym, or going for a jog.


7.)  Recognise stress signals

If you are feeling stressed, take a break and talk to someone. If you feel yourself starting to panic, stop what you’re doing and try a breathing technique; breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth gently and regularly letting your breath flow as deep down into your tummy as possible without forcing it. Do this for a few minutes until you begin to feel calmer.


Most important to remember is that you have worked hard and that you can’t change anything after you have sat the exam.  Yes, it’s great to do well in exams, but exams aren’t the only thing that will help you succeed in life, equally important factors include your attitude, work-ethic or ability to communicate well.


Find out more about ways of managing stress at

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