Education Mental Health Self-Help Teachers

How Not to Deal with Exam Stress

Exam season is right around the corner, which probably means that the notorious exam stress should be setting in right about… now? You just sat your mocks and didn’t do quite as well as you’d hoped? Or you got better than expected but still want to top it?

Well, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you stay cool, calm and educated…

Things to Do:


Planning is key to good revision. When left to our own devices we sometimes struggle to find the motivation to get off Netflix and actually do some work –  (speaking from experience here!) So, just like you have at school or college, draw out a timetable of allocated time slots to spend on each subject and stick to it!

Take regular breaks… and naps! 😴

You deserve it…. Our brains don’t work well when we’re tired, and revising can be exhausting. Don’t trudge through it, make sure you take a break every hour for 10 minutes, have a snack or something but don’t get distracted, be disciplined! Power napping is proven to increase productivity, give it a try! Yeah that’s right, we just told you to nap more. Go on, do it.

Eat breakfast.

We don’t perform well when we’re hungry, so no matter how nervous you are, eat a balanced breakfast. Eggs are a good choice and anything with Omega 3 to get your brain juices flowing. Avoid sugary foods like chocolate, this will give you a sudden burst of energy but cause you to crash during the exam!

Eat Lunch. 😍

If your exam is in the afternoon, make sure you eat a decent balanced lunch before that too! Hunger does not mix well with exams, there’s nothing worse than a grumbling stomach in the middle of a silent exam hall!!

Get creative.

Make your own revision materials. Instead of just trying to memorise boring notes, try making flash cards or mind maps… you could even write a song. How come we can sing the entire T-Swift album word-for-word but can’t remember the presidents of the United States for a history exam? Get singing… trust us it works, your song will be so ridiculous you’ll never forget it 😉.

Organise your workspace.

Where you work is important, if you’re in a stressful environment, it is inevitable that the stress will rub off on you. Find somewhere light and calm where you can spread out and get organised.

Remember that everyone learns differently.

We all have a friend who has finished the assignment as soon as it’s assigned and wants everyone to know about it, but not everyone works like that. Some people wait until the last minute and cram like craycray and that’s okay too. We all learn and work in different ways, so find your way and own it.


Put yourself under too much pressure 😱😱😱

…Freak out, stay up all night before the exam last minute revising, turn up late and full of sugar and energy drinks and spend the entire three-hour maths paper needing a pee, wishing you’d taken the advice of “Mr Smith” a long time ago… sound familiar? If you have left it to the last minute, don’t start panicking now. Have a look over the key points, eat a good meal and go to bed early. We perform better when we’re well rested.

Over revise.

Make sure you have a good balance between work and play. You should still be enjoying time with your mates at the weekend, as well as getting in some study time. You don’t have to put your entire life on hold if you plan properly!

Be too hard on yourself.

Be the best you can be, that’s all you can do. If it doesn’t work out, remember that it’s not the end of the world. There are opportunities to resit exams and alternative options, ask your teachers!

Drink coffee or tea before an exam.

Trust us on this – we’ve been there, done that. Sitting for an hour in an exam hall bursting to pee isn’t our idea of a fun day out. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it comes out almost as quickly as it goes in. Have a bit of water and stay hydrated but don’t overdo it.

So there you have it. 9 ways to get through your exams without losing your mind. If you feel like you’re under pressure and struggling to deal with stress, read our related articles and join the community to talk to our amazing Digital Mentors who can help you through difficult times. Good luck, you got this! 😉