Ways to deal with exam stress

As exam season will be approaching soon I want to share with you ways on how I coped with stress. I also want to educate you on what stress is and what it can do to you physically and mentally.

Mind Charity (2019) defines stress as people’s reactions to being under pressure in situations where they either have lots going on or in events where they don’t have much control over what happens. Even though stress is not a medical condition, it can lead to mental illness with anxiety and depression being the most common ones. Stress can make you feel and behave differently, for example some people may feel more irritable or more anxious about their life. Some people may find themselves snapping at people more often or becoming more tearful than usual. In addition to a change in your behaviour, stress can also affect you physical. It may give you a headache or an sore stomach. Some people may over sleep, not sleep at all or gain a poor diet; which can make you more emotionally stressed.

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While studying for my GSCEs and A-Levels I would become so nervous and feel stressed towards exam season. I realised while I was studying for my QTS skills tests (which I passed both first time 🙂 ) that I still hate exams and would still stress over them. So this is some advice on how I coped during this horrible period:

  • Speaking to people you trust:

I spoke to my mum and dad where they listened to my worries and did their best to support me. While revising for my Maths QTS they would help me with the mental arithmetic part by asking me questions, timing me and discussing with me my answers. I also spoke to some colleagues at work about how hard I found the Maths practice papers. It was great talking to them because I felt that they could really emphasise with me as they had been through exams and some even the same QTS skills test. All of these people had given me great advice and positivity towards the exams.

  • Mediation/Hypnosis clips on YouTube:

The week before both of my exams I would listen to a positive mediation or hypnosis clip on YouTube before I went to sleep. This made me feel more positive and confident for the exams. On the morning of the exam I would listen to a 5/10 minute positive mediation clip. Here are my favourite ones:

  • Not revising very shortly before the exam:

I found that this really helped me. I did not revise the night before both of my QTS skills tests as I focused more on staying calm and ready for the exam.

  • Regular breaks:

While revising for my QTS skills tests, I would do one practice test then do something different e.g. eat lunch, tidy room or even look through my phone and then do another practice test or go through the answers. Do what is best for you.

  • Exercising:

I would do this during some of my breaks. I would either go to the gym or go out for a walk. Exercising releases healthy, positive endorphins which is good for your brain.

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So here are my ways that helped me with my exam stress. I hoped this has helped and the very best of luck on whatever exams you will be taking.