Five techniques for dealing with exam stress

Thomas Durnellon 6 April 2021
Five techniques for dealing with exam stress

We all have exams at some point in our lives, and the pressure of getting good marks can affect our mental health. Here are five methods for dealing with exam stress.

1. Don’t procrastinate

This one’s easier said than done, but believe me, leaving everything to the last minute is one of the worst things you can do. Procrastination comes about when we don’t want to do tasks that will have to be completed at some point. There are many potential reasons to procrastinate; these include fear of failure, difficulty concentrating, disorganisation, and lack of motivation.

2. Talk to someone

This applies to any issue troubling you, no matter how minor or silly you think it is. It’s never good to bottle things up; I’ve ended up making myself feel physically sick from bottling emotions in the past. Make sure you talk to someone who understands you and can support you, whether it’s a relative, a helpline worker, or your GP. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved.

3. Have faith in your knowledge

The knowledge you’ve gained from textbooks is only a fraction of the stuff you can get down in your exams. You’re learning new things all the time - from reading articles online to watching new shows on TV - which can supplement your knowledge of a subject. You know more than you think you do, so believe in your abilities.

4. Make time for yourself

Revision is important, but nothing matters more than self-care, so remember to take regular breaks to relax and do things you enjoy. Don’t worry about pushy parents or teachers who are piling on the pressure. You’re taking these exams for your benefit; it’s your life, so take control of it.

5. Put everything in perspective

Remember that failing your exams isn’t the end of the world. Loads of celebrities and successful business people didn’t get the grades they wanted at school but still managed to reach positions they’re in now. What employers are really looking for is people with experience and good skills, abilities that are not always represented by a grade on a sheet of paper.

This is not to say you should pass off your exams and qualifications as unimportant, just don’t get worked up about them. They’re not the be-all and end-all, so focus on making yourself happy. 

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Thomas Durnellon 6 April 2021