Author: Jess, 18
About: The exam period can be a stressful time for any student, whether at school or uni. Jess shares their tips for managing stress and nerves around exams.
With GCSEs, A-levels and other exams fast approaching, many young people are feeling the familiar wave of stress. The lead-up to exams has always been a very difficult period for most students.
It's so important to look after ourselves in the lead-up to exams, so I wanted to write this blog in the hopes that it would help some young people cope with stress.
I’ve started adding in time throughout the day to take a break and read or watch a TV show that I like.
Routine and structure are key...
While revising for my exams this year, I have realised that I am someone who becomes less stressed when I have a structured daily routine that I can follow, and I am sure that there are many other people that feel the same way.
However, I have found that by making a to do list that includes a lot of stressful activities, such as revision, I am less likely to complete my work, which then leads to increased stress and anxiety levels.
...But try to include regular breaks
Over the past two weeks I have altered the way that my to do lists look, and it has really helped. I started by reducing the number of revision sessions I was doing each day, as I find it most helpful and least stressful when I only have two or three blocks of revision to do in one day.
I have also 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.
It is important to take care of yourself as well as revising, otherwise you will not be able to perform well.
Make time to unwind
While exams may seem like the most important thing in young people’s lives, it can be easy to neglect self-care. It is important to take care of yourself as well as revising, otherwise you will not be able to perform well. Some things that you can do to take care of yourself during this time are taking a relaxing bath, going on a walk with a family member or a friend, or taking an evening off to watch a film that you love.
The lead-up to exams can be a very stressful time for everyone, and it’s totally normal to feel worried or anxious. But please remember that you are not alone.
Talk to someone you trust
The lead-up to exams can be a very stressful time for everyone, and it’s totally normal to feel worried or anxious. But please remember that you are not alone, and there is always someone available for you to talk to, whether that’s a friend, a family member, an adult you trust or a helpline like the ones listed at the bottom of this page.
It’s also important to remember that you are so much more than your grades. So, whatever the outcome of your exams, be kind to yourself. All you can do is try your best. You’ve got this.
Whatever the outcome of your exams, be kind to yourself.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Free, short-term online counselling for young people aged 25 or under. Their website also provides lots of information and advice about mental health and wellbeing.
Email support is available via their online contact form.
They have a free 1-2-1 webchat service available during opening hours.
- Opening times:
- 4pm - 11pm, Monday - Friday
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
- Opening times:
Supports students to look after their mental health by providing information and advice.
They also provide details about local services offered by universities and information on how you can access support group programmes.
You can call or email for more information (this is not a helpline).