How To Cope With Exam Stress & Other Important Questions

17 June, 2022

Let’s be honest: this time of year is not fun. It should be- after all, the days are getting longer, and warm weather and blue skies are beckoning- and yet you’re stuck inside, revising and stressing about exams. But while it might feel like it at the time, exam season doesn’t last forever! Here are some questions you might be asking yourself right now, and our answers to help you cope with this stressful period, so you can start looking forward to enjoying your summer…

How important are exams?

You’ve probably had parents and teachers stressing the importance of exams pretty much your whole life- and we’re not about to contradict that. But they aren’t the most important thing in the world. The reason exams are important, though, is that the results make it easier (or harder) to lead the life you want- whatever that looks like for you. But if these exams don’t go to plan? Just draw a line under them and work harder next time. A bad set of results aren’t the end of the road – they might just be a hurdle you need to get past on your journey.

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand this topic?

I guarantee you won’t be. Whatever it is- a particular area of maths, a topic in history or getting to grips with your french accent, you are not alone in struggling. Chances are if you speak to your peers you’ll find some of them are having exactly the same challenges as you, but were too self-conscious to admit it. But if you’re struggling, the best thing to do is always be honest with yourself as early as possible, and reach out for help from your teacher. No one will judge you for not getting something, and trust us when we say your teachers would much rather be helping you now rather than commiserating with you later!

Am I revising enough?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to revision or how much revision you need to do. Ultimately it’s all about what you need to do to achieve your goals. There is a healthy balance to strike, though. If you’re revising 14 hours a day with barely any breaks, you’re risking burnout and your brain won’t be functioning fully to process all the information you’re trying to cram in. On the flip side, if you’re procrastinating every time you sit down to revise and keep making excuses to stop, then you’re not giving yourself the best chance to succeed. Keeping your phone in another room while you revise, timing your breaks, and holding yourself accountable for your revision time can help you stay focused. 

I’m struggling to sleep and am feeling anxious…

Take a deep breath: it’s all going to be okay. When you’re overwhelmed it can help to think about whether the thing that’s making you anxious will still worry you in five years’ time. No doubt by then your exams will feel like a distant memory and you’ll be off living your best life. But in the meantime, we’ve got some tips on how to cope with stress and anxiety. If you’re struggling to sleep, ensuring you’re incorporating exercise into your daily routine (no matter how short on time you may feel) can really help. Physically tiring yourself can help your brain switch off more readily at night. If you want to multitask, record some revision notes on the voice memos app available on most phones, and listen to your notes as you go for a long walk. 

I’m feeling overwhelmed- there’s too much to do and too little time

Exam season always seems to sneak up on us, and can leave you feeling like you simply don’t have enough time to revise properly for all the different subjects. You really aren’t alone in feeling this way, and you should give yourself credit for having high expectations of yourself- but remember there are only so many hours in the day and you’re a human, not a machine. Continually prioritise and re-prioritise your topics in revision sessions to focus on the areas that you need to the most time, and continually tweak your revision timetable as you get through exams. Ask teachers what topics they think are most likely to crop up in exams, and focus on those (particularly those which you think you’re weakest in). You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try to: just do the best you can with the time you have to brush up on what’s most important. You’ve got this!

Want some more support?

YourGamePlan has a selection of popular mental health courses available completely FREE that will not only help you during your exams but throughout life.

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