We would like to be able to analyse the basic traffic on our website, e.g. number of visits and page views. To do this we need to place a cookie on your browser (details here).
menuBrowse the site

articles, blogs & news

TOP TIPS: How do deal with Exam Stress


I vividly remember doing exams at school and feeling overwhelmed by it all. However in the 80s (yes, I am that old) there wasn't a great deal of consideration for mental health or even in supporting young people through that period of time. As an ex teacher I have a little bit of insight into what young people go through in the run up to their exams. Whether its GCSEs or A-Levels, it can be a time of pressure and anxiety.

I have put together a few tips just to help your teenager (and you as a parent!) to get through this time.

EXAM STRESS/PRESSURE - You are not alone

  • Talk to a friend or family member, even a teacher. You are not alone, everyone feels pressure to some extent and there is no shame in admitting it
  • Ask for help - if you need some help to come up with a plan for revision, or if you need help to support your child, ask someone. Schools will support you and there is lots of information available on the internet


  • Past papers - there will be lots of previous exam papers that you can access which is great for practise. Use the marking scheme to correct your answers and help you focus on what information is needed
  • Revision classes - there will be lots of classes offered at your school, probably before the school day starts of after school. These are really worth attending - remember this is only for a short time so it's worth investing your time
  • Getrevising - this website is really useful

BE ORGANISED - Manage your time effectively

  • Make a timetable - schedule when you are going to revise, what topics you'll cover and how long your study sessions will be. This will help you make sure that you've covered all the relevant topics in time and that you are scheduling in breaks
  • Prioritise tasks - focus on what you believe is the most important tasks first
  • Avoid distractions - Social media is a huge distraction and can be a wormhole to get lost in. Time can fly by without you realising. During your study session, leave your phone in another room and use a watch/clock for time keeping. This is so difficult to do for most people (both kids and adults) but it's all too easy to become distracted every time a phone bleeps or buzzes and this will ruin the flow of concentration
  • Achievable goals - Remember to set goals in small chunks or steps. This will make the whole process seem less daunting
  • Declutter your study area - no one can work well in a cluttered area. Clear away the clutter, create a calm space to work with all the resources you'll need so you don't have to go looking for things during a revision session
  • Routine - get into a good routine of study time and breaks. This will help you to stay positive and focused
  • Use visual aids - posters on the wall, flash cards, mnemonics, what ever works for you
  • Keep it fun - maybe get together with a study group and have a quiz or play a game to see how many facts you can repeat about a certain topic
  • Research revision strategies - not everyone learns in the same way

A good example of a study schedule is the 40, 30, 20 split with 5 minutes break in between each stage. 40 minutes on a topic you struggle with, 30 minutes on something you are unsure of and 20 minutes on something you are confident in.  


  • Don't worry if you get side tracked on a topic and end up going off schedule, just start fresh tomorrow
  • Don't compare yourself to others - if your friends are talking about how much they are doing, or how much their kids are revising, try and remember that everyone is different and everyone is coping with the pressure in their own way


  • Be kind to yourself - reflect on what you DO know, rather that what you don't know
  • Take breaks - get outside, take a walk, ride your bike, play football in the garden or park
  • Rest - make sure you are getting enough rest. This means limiting screen time at night and getting quality sleep. Teenagers should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Relax - if you feel stressed or anxious, plan in time for things that you enjoy, some quiet time. A bubble bath, a movie with a friend, chatting to friends. Practise mindfulness and learn some relaxation techniques like breathing exercises or mindfulness
  • Diet - avoid energy drinks and caffeine. They may give you a short term boost but in the long run they can impede concentration and affect your sleep
  • Stay positive - the end is in sight, this wont last forever. Mark the end goal on your calendar to remind you


While exams are important at certain stages of life, they aren't the be all and end all. Exams only show a small part of you and they don't show many of the skills and attributes you have.

Exams do not define you

You are so much more. Employers and higher/further education establishments don't just look at exam results any more, they will look at your personality, skills and attitude.

Good Luck!

*Special thanks to Mr D Tyrrell and Mrs R Tyrrell, experienced secondary school teachers, who contributed to this article.

Share this article:  Twitter Facebook