Dealing with Exam Stress

Exam time can be very stressful but there are some steps you can take to reduce stress.

  • Materials- make sure you have everything you need before you start to revise. Ask your teachers what the syllabus is, the books you can use to help you, if they have any past papers or worksheets that you can use. Then make sure you have paper and pens to make notes with and keep all of these things organised. This will help you to start revising without having to run around looking for things you need first.
  • Time management- it is very easy to spend too much time revising but revision is only effective for a set amount of time before you become too tired to concentrate. Set a time aside every day (an hour or two) when you will revise and stick to it. This will stop you from procrastinating and make sure that you get breaks. Some students may benefit from creating an exam timetable in which they set out what subjects they will revise on certain days.
  • Sleep – make sure that you still sleep for at least 8 hours per night. During exam time especially, it feels like you have very little time in the day to do everything you want to. But students often get into the bad habit of staying up revising really late before exams. If you are too tired, you will not be able to perform at your best. It is always better to get more sleep than to cram more information into your brain!
  • Eat – when you are revising and sitting exams, your body needs fuel to help you to concentrate and keep your energy up. Eating poorly can increase anxiety levels and make you really tired. Make sure you eat three healthy meals per day (including plenty of fruit and veg) and avoid unhealthy habits like eating while working or drinking too many energy drinks.
  • Ask for help –stress can often become overwhelming when you feel like you have to deal with it alone. Talking to those around you such as parents, carers, teachers or the School Nurse and asking them questions can help you feel less overwhelmed. Asking for help when you need it will also reduce stress.


Have fun – just because you are sitting exams does not mean that you can’t do the things you enjoy. Set aside time each day for reading, watching TV, talking to friends, or for going on walks. This makes sure that your days are filled with something other than revision. If possible, set aside one day a week when you won’t revise and use the time to relax. This time out will reduce stress.