Stress-Busting Tips for Exams

Discover practical and proven strategies to manage stress, optimise study sessions, and excel in your exams. This guide provides students with tips on creating effective study plans, using revision techniques, and maintaining well-being during exam season.

Stress-Busting Tips for Exams

As exam season approaches, feeling a bit anxious is completely normal. But fear not! It’s not just about hitting the books harder—it's about hitting them smarter. Let’s explore some top-notch strategies to manage your stress, maximise your study time, and smash those deadlines.

Understand the Endgame

Before you even open your textbook or revision notes, get clear on what achieving high marks could mean for you—whether it’s securing your spot at a top uni, equipping you for that apprenticeship, or simply proving to yourself that you can do it. Keep your goals in sight!

Being proactive in your exam preparation is crucial. Starting early and planning your revision schedule not only reduces last-minute stress but also enhances your understanding and retention of information. By taking control of your studies well in advance, you give yourself ample time to delve deeper into complex topics, seek help where needed, and avoid the pitfalls of cramming. Proactivity allows for a balanced approach to studying, ensuring that you have time for rest and relaxation, which are just as important for a sharp mind on exam day. When you’re proactive, you're not just preparing for exams; you’re building effective life skills in time management and self-discipline, setting the stage for future successes in all aspects of your life.

1. Plan Your Study Strategy

Create a Timetable: Tailor your study timetable to fit when you’re most mentally alert. Are mornings your prime time, or are you more of a night owl? Structure your revision periods during these peak times using the Pomodoro Technique: study intensely for 25 minutes, then break for 5.

Set Specific Objectives: Each revision session should have a clear aim. Whether it's understanding a key concept, practicing past paper questions, or memorising dates and formulas, know what you want to achieve beforehand to keep your sessions productive.

2. Build Your Ideal Study Spot

Minimise Distractions: Choose a quiet spot where you can avoid interruptions. Make it a 'no-phone zone' or use productivity apps to keep distractions at bay.

Forest app helps you to build study habits

Have Everything You Need: Keep all your revision essentials within reach—notes, textbooks, highlighters, and a water bottle. This cuts down on time wasted looking for things.

3. Engage Deeply with the Material

Teach to Learn: Explaining your material to a friend or even your pet can deepen your understanding and highlight areas that need more attention.

Employ Memory Aids: Develop mnemonics, rhymes, or diagrams to help remember complex information more easily. Visual aids are particularly effective for visual learners.

4. Mimic Exam Conditions

Take Practice Tests: Do timed practice sessions to get a feel for managing your time under pressure and to identify knowledge gaps.

Review Old Exams: Go through previous years’ papers to familiarise yourself with the typical format and question styles your examiners favour.

5. Manage Stress Effectively

Keep Moving: Regular physical activity, whether it’s yoga, jogging, or just dancing around your room, can reduce stress levels and enhance your mood and brain function.

Practice Mindfulness: Short meditation or breathing exercises can center your thoughts and calm exam nerves. Try apps like Headspace or Calm for guided sessions.

6. Prep the Night Before

Pack Your Bag: Lay out everything you'll need for the exam—calculator, extra pens and a snack. Avoid morning panics by having it all ready to go.

Get Plenty of Sleep: Resist the urge to cram all night. Rest is vital for your brain to function at its best on exam day.

7. On the Exam Day

Stay Positive and Nourished: Kick off your day with something uplifting and a healthy breakfast. Keep hydrated and arrive early to settle any nerves.

Deep Breathing: If anxiety creeps in, breathe deeply—inhale for four counts, hold for four, then exhale for four. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.

Armed with these strategies, you’re set not just to face your exams but to excel in them. Remember, it’s not only about working hard but also working smart. Managing your stress and organising your time effectively will hugely impact your exam performance.

Final Tip: Reflect on what tactics worked best for you and what could be tweaked next time. Continuous improvement is your key to ongoing success.

Charge into your exams with confidence—you've got this!

Other exam-stress management resources from Phase

Never miss a Phase blog post - subscribe here

Donate with JustGiving. Pay with Mastercard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, Bank Transfer, Apple Pay or Direct Debit.