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It’s normal to feel stressed and on edge about exams. Stress is your body’s natural response to pressure. It can help you focus and get things done, but sometimes it can all get a bit much.

Exam stress can affect anyone and it can show up in loads of ways, like:

If any of these feelings are beginning to take over your life, there is help. And we’re here to help you find it.

Coping with exam pressure

The pressure to do well can really get on top of you and only add to the existing stress of exams. It could be from your school, your family, your friends, or yourself. Even if the people around you aren’t putting pressure on you, you might still want to make them proud. But remember, no matter what your results, your mental health is important too.

Whether you feel stressed right before your exams, or it builds up over time, here are some things you can do to ease the pressure:

How to deal with exam stress

Exam stress can feel lonely and like a heavy load to carry, but you don’t have to tackle it alone. Lots of young people find exams difficult, and it’s okay to need support.

Don’t hold it all in – try talking to someone about what’s on your mind. If someone knows you feel stressed, they can have your back, encourage you, and listen when you need them to. It could be a friend, family member, carer, community/faith leader, teacher, or anyone else you trust. You don’t have to go through this alone.

In the lead up to exams

  • Ask for any practical help you need
  • Ask for access arrangements if you need them
  • Check in with your friends
  • Find a study group or start your own

When exams start

  • Get organised the night before
  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Don’t compare your answers
  • Reward yourself

“I have found that putting in time for activities that I enjoy alongside revision helps me to de-stress, so I’ve started adding in time throughout the day to take a break and read or watch a TV show that I like. I’ve found that including activities that I look forward to in my daily schedule helps make revision feel more bearable” – Jess, 18

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