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Exams can feel like a mountain to climb, but with the right strategies, you can tackle them with confidence and come out on top. A certain amount of stress during exam season is to be expected but it doesn’t have to control your life. Here’s a guide to help you manage that stress and stay on track.

1. Plan and Organise

Why it helps: Knowing what you need to study and when can make the workload seem less overwhelming.

  • Make a schedule: Break down your subjects and topics into manageable chunks and spread them out over the days leading up to your exams.
  • Set priorities: Focus on the subjects or topics you find most challenging first.
  • Manage expectations: Be real about how much you do in a short time
  • Make a to-do list: A hand-written list, using an app, or even a simple calendar can help keep you organized.

2. Take Breaks and Relax

Why it helps: Your brain needs time to process information, and breaks can prevent burnout.

  • Follow the Pomodoro Technique: Study for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat this cycle, and after four rounds, take a longer break.
  • Do something you enjoy: Whether it’s listening to music, playing a sport, or hanging out with friends, make time for activities that make you happy.

3. Stay Active

Why it helps: Physical activity boosts your mood and energy levels, which can help you study more effectively.

  • Exercise regularly: Even a short walk or a quick workout can make a big difference.
  • Practice mindfulness: Activities like yoga and meditation can reduce stress and improve focus.
Image describing ways to take care of yourself

4. Eat Well and Sleep Well

Why it helps: Your body and brain need proper fuel and rest to function at their best.

  • Eat balanced meals: Include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains in your diet. Avoid taking too much caffeine and sugar…we see you energy drinks!
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Good sleep helps with memory consolidation and overall ability to think straight and understand better.

5. Stay Positive and Reach Out

Why it helps: Maintaining a positive mindset and seeking support can greatly reduce stress.

  • Positive affirmations: Remind yourself of your strengths and past successes.
  • Talk to someone: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, teacher or a youth worker. Sharing your worries can be a huge relief.
  • Celebrate the little wins: Treat yourself to a reward when you achieve a milestone or target you have set yourself
  • Don’t get caught up in other people’s stress: We all have that friend who stresses about everything. Try not to take on board their worries as well as your own.

6. Practice Good Study Habits

Why it helps: Efficient studying can reduce the amount of time you need to spend hitting the books, leaving more time for relaxation.

  • Active learning: Engage with the material by summarizing information, teaching it to someone else, or creating mind maps.
  • Mix it up: Switch between subjects to keep things interesting and to better retain information.

7. Prepare for the Exam Day

Why it helps: Being well-prepared can reduce anxiety and help you feel more in control.

  • Pack your bag the night before: Include all necessary items like pens, pencils, calculators etc.
  • Know your schedule: Make sure you know when and where your exams are taking place.
  • Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam location to avoid any last-minute stress.

Final Thoughts
Remember, stress is a natural part of life, especially during exams. The key is to manage it so it doesn’t overwhelm you. By planning ahead, taking care of your body and mind, and staying positive, you can turn exam stress into a motivating force. You’ve got this!

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