Managing exam stress and revision

In the exam…

  • Try to stay calm. Take a few breaths and tell yourself you are going to do your best. Remember that the examiners know that you are doing this under a time-pressure and do not expect absoluteĀ  perfection.
  • Look through the whole exam paper to get an idea of what you need to do in the exam time. If there are essay questions, read them carefully and underline or highlight key words if that helps. Check the back of any pages just in case.
  • Look at how many marks the questions are worth and plan your time. Questions worth more marks will need more time to give enough detail in your answer. Include a few minutes to read through and double-check your answers at the end. Planning how you use the time you have for an exam is important so you can use your time effectively and pace yourself properly.
  • Answer the questions as well as you can. You do not have to complete the questions in the order they are written and if you are stuck, try the next question and come back later. If you have no idea then give your best guess based on what you do know, you may know more than you think.
  • For essay questions, make a quick plan before you start writing. This can be a mind map or list and should not take more than a minute or two. It will help you stay on topic and if you do run out of time it tells the examiner what you planned to write. When you have finished your written answer, score out the plan.
  • Keep an eye on the time and try to stick to your time plan as much as possible. (This could be part of your practise and revision.)
  • Proof-read your answers and correct any mistakes. We all make silly mistakes when we rush so check what you have written and correct any errors.

If you need it, get help!
If you are not sure about what information you need to focus on when revising, talk to your teachers to get advice. If you are feeling stressed, talk to someone you trust. Lots of people get stressed about exams, so get help if you need it.

If an exam did not go to plan, talk to your family, your teachers and, if necessary, a career advisor. Your plans may change but you can make a new plan. More often than not, you can plan a new route to your preferred career, it may just take a bit longer to get to your destination or you can find a suitable alternative that will work for you.