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8 Top tips for dealing with exam stress

Our Advice Service have 8 great tips for dealing with exam stress.

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Before the Exam

1.      Congratulate yourself on getting to where you are now.

You successfully achieved the qualifications you needed to get on to your course and take the exams you are studying for now.

2.      Make friends with stress

We all need some stress in our lives to get up in the morning and get things done – make a decision that you will do everything you can to stay in control of exam stress. Think positively and believe that you can pass.

3.      Accept you may feel frightened

It’s a natural, instinctive response to a perceived fearful situation. Take a few minutes to write down what frightens you about exams so you know what you are dealing with, put it in a drawer but just keep a bit of fear – it tells you that this matters to you and helps motivate you to keep working.

4.      Plan to succeed and be kind to yourself.

Plan the revision work you need to complete and then use the Pomodoro technique to study in short, focussed 25 minute sessions. Turn off facebook, e mails and any other distractions while you do this – you can check them after 25 minutes. After each session take a three minute break to walk around, get a drink etc. Your mind will be digesting what you are learning while you take this break. Every four 25 minute sessions take a longer fifteen minute break.

5.      Prepare to deal with getting anxious in an exam.

Practice the following in advance.

  • Stop
  • Feel both feet firmly on the ground
  • Close your eyes
  • Relax your shoulders and arms, jaw and cheeks
  • Take five long breaths - Breathe in counting to 5 slowly and breathe out counting to 10
  • Allow yourself to sit still for one minute
  • If you still can't remember the information then move on to another question and return to this question later.
  • Your clear thinking will come back as you approach the task with a more relaxed mind.

6.      Get support

Remember the University Counselling and Wellbeing Service is here to support you. Contact Student Services if you need to talk over how you are feeling. Call them on 0845 196 6701/6700 for an appointment or e mail

7.      Remember to eat, drink and sleep

Its important to keep physically well to perform to the best of your ability in exams. Take time to eat well and drink regularly. Take some leisure time before you go to bed to allow yourself to wind down. Eat and drink before an exam and have food and drink available to keep yourself energised.

8.      Good Luck

On the day before each exam, check the room number, know exactly where it is, pack your bag with everything you will need including your student ID card, travel card, money, pens, calculator etc and food and drink to keep you going.

Good Luck 

If you have any suggestions on dealing with stress you would like to share, post them in the comments box below.


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