How to Manage Exam Stress This Year (Blog)

Moving into Year 11 and 13 can be a daunting experience. And the same can also be said for university years. From the start you’re told how important these years, and their final exams are. And whilst this is true, it’s also important to stay calm and healthy too.

It’s well known that students preparing for GCSEs or A-Levels can experience a lot of stress and anxiety due to exams and the preparation for them but there are many things you can do to avoid feeling stressed. Here’s some tips we’ve put together:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help:

Firstly, it’s important to remember there are people there to support you. You might feel you can’t go to people for help, especially as you’re coming closer to adulthood, but this isn’t the case. No one expects you to have all the answers from the start, and there’s a lot of people you can go to help you solve them. If you’re struggling on a particular concept, you can go to a teacher and ask them to explain it to you or point you in the direction of useful resources.

Or if your issues are more related to your wellbeing, try reaching out to a parent or other trusted adult to see what they suggest. However, it’s a good idea to seek help with your problems, in order to prevent them becoming bigger issues further down the line.

Develop good study habits early on:

A good idea might be to develop a good study pattern early on in the year, such as setting specific work times and activities for each day. One benefit of this is that you can start building up your understanding of subjects sooner, instead of having to “cram” all your revision in closer to the exams, which would only be more stressful. At first this may feel like too much work at once, but as you continue and stick to your routine, it will become less of a burden and more like part of your daily life. Furthermore, this will give you time to learn how you revise best. Everyone gets their best work done in different ways, and exploring what methods and environment works for you can be very important. You might want to consider:

  • What revision techniques work for you (e.g. Note-taking, mind maps, flashcards, etc.)
  • If you work better in complete silence or with music in the background
  • What location you revise best at (whether that’s in your room, downstairs or at school)
  • Whether you find revising with a partner helpful

Keep your wellbeing in mind:

Most importantly, you should remember not to let schoolwork consume your life entirely. Whilst revision and exams might be your focus, you also need to take care of yourself. A suggestion would be to build your revision schedule to allow for breaks so you can find time to:

  •  Eat
  • Go outside, perhaps even for exercise
  • Sleep (remember teenagers need around 8-10 hours sleep a night)
  • Maintain some form of social life, even if that’s just meeting with someone occasionally to revise together

At first this might seem counterproductive, after all, it’s taking away time you could use to revise. But keeping all this in mind could be a significant help since it should stop you becoming exhausted or ‘burnt-out’. Giving yourself these breaks as rewards and maintaining a balanced lifestyle may also increase your motivation, encouraging you to continue to work as hard in the long term.

At the end of the day, exam years can be a tough experience, but remember that your peers will be feeling the same way. By taking action and making use of the resources around you and getting a good start on work, you should be able to have a productive, maybe even enjoyable year.

Written by Joseph Perks

For Lyfeproof UK