Person sitting at desk taking an exam

09 Jun 2022

Top tips for coping with exam stress

By Holly Rees, Counsellor at The Eaves

Exam season is here, and I am hearing more and more from young people how stressful this time is for them, no matter what their age.

Here are a few tips and techniques to try to help you manage exam stress. Remember we are all individuals so it’s finding out what works best for you.

Plan your studies

Mapping out your revision may help you to feel more on top of your workload. This could be writing it down in a schedule or drawing it out – whatever works best for you. Try breaking your revision down into small manageable chunks, setting realistic goals and marking your progress and rewarding yourself along the way.

Take regular breaks

Taking breaks when you have lots of revision ahead of you may feel daunting but recognising when you are feeling overwhelmed and need a break is important. A change of scenery, moving your body and keeping hydrated can make you feel refocused for the revision ahead.

Find a balance

As with taking a break, you might feel guilty by not focusing all your attention on studying but it’s important to find a balance. This includes making sure you get enough sleep, eat healthily, and find time for exercise. Other ways to find a balance and take a moment for yourself could be focusing on your breathing to relax, I find box breathing the most helpful (breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and breathe out for 4). For others it might be drawing, journaling, listening to music, having a cup of tea or getting outside.

Talk about it

Talking about what’s on your mind with someone you trust, such as a friend or family member can release the feelings you are holding and help you to destress. If you need extra support, reach out to teachers or tutors to see what they can offer you.

Remember, we are all different and have different skills and ways of coping with stress, there is no right or wrong way to prepare and revise for exams, it’s about finding out what work’s for you.