How to cope with Exam related stress

With GCSE exams well underway, we’ve put together a helpful guide to spot some of the symptoms of exam stress and some tips on overcoming them.

Exam stress can affect anyone and it can show up in loads of ways, like:

  • feeling anxious or down
  • getting irritable and angry
  • struggling to sleep
  • changes in your eating habits
  • having bad thoughts about yourself
  • worrying about the future
  • losing interest in stuff you usually like
  • finding it hard to concentrate
  • feeling unwell – like headaches, feeling sick or tired

Pressure can build in many ways, whether it’s from those around you urging you to do well, or the expectation you place on yourself. If you feel it’s getting too much here are some things you can do…

TALK ABOUT IT – Be honest and open with people about what you think you can handle. Make it clear if your expectations are different from theirs. And if you need to, have a word with a teacher you trust about the stress you’re under at home. Don’t suffer in silence, we are here to help.

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS – It may feel like some are revising more than you, or just not stressing as much, but we’re all different and that’s okay. Try not to stress about how others are prepping for exams. Focus on what you can do. Remember, your friends are coping with exam stress too. They might be just as on edge as you.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF – We know you’ve worked hard, remember there’s lots of people who believe in you, so make sure to believe in yourself. Reflect on all the things you’ve already achieved, in or outside of studying. Write a list of what you rate about yourself, and what others like about you too. Doing things you’re good at and enjoy can really boost your self-esteem.

Young Minds has lots more information and advice on coping with exams, there’s also help from the Samaritans and the mental health charity Mind