Practical tips for exam stress


So they have arrived. Exams. Your years of study all comes down to these next few weeks. There is no doubt about it, exam stress is real and can be so easily overwhelming. This is especially the case if you struggle to revise, feel like nothing is going in, feel the pressure to do well and are worried you won’t the get results you need. So how do you cope?

Be Kind to Yourself

  • Remember that some stress is normal. Don’t expect to be totally stress free and - importantly - remember you are not alone in these feelings. Most people experience some exam stress. You are not a failure in any way.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others or focus on what people expect of you. Remember everyone studies and achieves differently. Be you.
  • If the panic sets in, take a moment, close your eyes, take deeps breaths, pray and then start again.
  • Do have some fun. It is important to treat yourself, see friends and do normal things.
  • Don’t be critical of yourself after an exam. It is so easy to think it didn’t go well or go over that question you found hard or struggled with. You can’t change it now. Wait for the result knowing God knows and will work good in all things.

Be Practical

  • Get organised. Look at your exam timetable and plan when you need to revise for what. Break your revision into small chunks and don’t expect to learn everything. Study at the time that works best for you.
  • Take breaks away from your study materials, pop outside for ten minutes with a drink and try to focus on the sounds and smells, take deep breaths and rest for a few minutes.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek advice from your tutors (even if your lectures have finished they will still be in work) or friends and family.

Look after yourself

  • Eat well. Energy drinks or a whole packet of chocolate biscuits with a single cup of tea are probably not the best. Avoid too much caffeine, drink water, have breakfast, each fruit and veg.
  • Exercise is really good for reducing anxiety, helping to lift a low mood and helping to us to de-stress. Put this into your exam timetable.
  • Take a social media de-tox. Turn off notifications to avoid becoming distracted. If you can avoid looking at your screen for at least one hour before bed as this can impact your sleep.
  • Sleep. Try and get as much sleep as you can but rather than long lie-ins try a few earlier nights.
  • Talk to someone if you feel the pressure is really overwhelming you.

Open up to God

  • At the start of each revision session and exam, invite God to calm your mind, ask him to help you focus and to bring to mind all that you have studied.
  • Ask others to pray for you and tell them when you have exams.
  • Remember God is with you and you are more than your results. He will be the one who guides you through your life. Eph 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.


Nathan Jones

In 1993 Nathan started Teens In Crisis a charity that today provides free counselling to over 2000 teenagers a year. He’s spent over 10 years working as a Youth Pastor and is currently training Churches to provide better mental health and pastoral support to young people through an organisation called TALKTHROUGH.