Reducing Exam Stress

Exam season is approaching with mock exams for AS and A-Level students beginning on December 10th. You’ll need to work hard and challenge yourselves, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a stressful time. Here are our top tips for making the most of exam leave by ensuring you’re well rested and prepared.

Plan Your Revision

Planning your time and workload is crucial to reducing stress. Keep organised by using a diary to list everything you need to do before, breaking it down into manageable chunks. Make a schedule of when you’ll have time to revise, and which topics you’ll study. Be careful to spread your time evenly between subjects and don’t just focus on ‘easy’ areas, challenge yourself with topics you’re less confident in to avoid surprises in the exam. Practice using past papers under mock exam conditions to get a feel for how much time you need to spend on each section and how much you can write in that time.

Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks is just as important as the time you spend studying. Work out how long you can realistically concentrate for and set a timer – a good starting place is 25 minutes of studying with 5 minutes of rest in between. Mix up your breaks to keep your mind and body stimulated; stretch your legs by walking your dog, make a cup of tea or Facetime a friend. You could also motivate yourself by planning a reward after the study session; hanging out with a friend, cooking your favourite meal or catching up on a TV series.

Healthy Eating

Your mind is most effective when it’s nourished with fruits, vegetables and plenty of water. Eat everything in moderation and be sure to treat yourself too. You may find light snacks such as nuts or a banana help you through study sessions and slow release breakfast carbohydrates like porridge oats will keep you full until lunch. Schedule meal breaks into your revision timetable and avoid staying at your desk to eat.

Get Enough Sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and don’t overwork yourself. 8 hours a night should be enough to keep you rested and refreshed, but increase this if you find yourself feeling tired during the day. Try to wind down before bed by putting your phone away, reading a book or having a bath – this will encourage a peaceful rather than disruptive sleep.

Sharing is Caring

A problem shared is a problem halved. Try studying with a friend for support, it’s useful to have someone to discuss ideas or test you with flash cards. If you have any questions or don’t understand a particular theory, your teachers will be happy to explain – they want you to succeed! If you are struggling to cope with stress, please talk to a parent, tutor or pastoral care team.

Remember, exam results don’t define you and lower grades than expected don’t mean you can’t follow other paths to the future you want. Use your time wisely and try your best, we believe in you!