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Wellbeing for All - Exam Pressure

Dealing with exam pressure.

We know that many young people might find the lead up to formal examinations an anxious time. This is perfectly normal and in this article, we give some top tips and hints on how to manage these thoughts and feelings.

Please do have a listen to this video where Dr Sheila Redfern gives some tips on how to manage anxiety when waiting to hear about exam results, or applications for college, university or for a job.  For more self-care strategies and support for mental health and wellbeing, please visit

Dr Sheila Redfern gives advice on managing stress at important moments - YouTube

This video also gives students some ‘light touch’ advice for young people on how to ‘Ace’ their exams.

How to ACE an exam | Laura Bubble & Dev | 4:01 Show - YouTube

Before exams

  1. Eat healthily by having breakfast and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to avoid junk food.
  2. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes or too much caffeine as this won’t help manage anxiety.
  3. Get your eight hours sleep. Wind down before bed by putting away your mobile and tablet.
  4. The key to lowering your anxiety is organisation and preparation. Going into an exam feeling confident because you’ve worked hard is going to be less anxious.
  5. Manage your time. Make a realistic timetable. Stick to it. Everyone approaches revision in different ways so make sure you’ve chosen the method that works best for you.
  6. Plan breaks and treats into your revision schedule in order to reward yourself. This includes exercise breaks.
  7. Plan your social media breaks so that your phone is not interrupting your revision.
  8. Learn to recognise when you are becoming overwhelmed. A break or a chat with someone who knows the pressure you’re under will get things into perspective.
  9. Remember to focus on yourself not your friends, so avoid comparing your revision with that of your classmates.
  10. Surround yourself with a group of people who will motivate you, and who you can talk to about exam pressures constructively.

During exams

  1. If you feel yourself panicking during the exam, sit back for a moment and control your breathing.
  2. Talk to the invigilator in the room if you need support.
  3. Read the questions thoroughly and plan your answers to help you feel in control.

After exams

  1. Remember to keep things in perspective and steer clear of any exam ‘post-mortems’. It doesn’t matter what your friends wrote as it’s too late to go back and change your answers. Put it behind you – the best thing to do is focus on the next exam.
  2. Remember that there is life after exams. Things might seem intense right now, but it won’t last forever.
  3. There will be a point when the exam is over, so working hard for a short time will pay off when you get your results and feel that achievement.