Exam Stress

Like it or not, at some point in our lives, we have to take exams. At school, college, uni, even learning to drive – there’s no escaping them.

For some people it’s no big deal, they even get off on it, but for most of us, exams are stressful.

But stress isn’t all bad. It’s the thing that gives us a rush of adrenaline to make us bother to sit down and study. Without it, we’d all just lie in bed watching the TV rather than ploughing through some dull book. Stress helps to motivate us and raises our game when we’re faced with a challenge. But it’s a fine line – too much stress does the opposite and causes us to get anxious and tense. It means we start panicking and we can’t stay focused.

You can feel tired, angry, frustrated and down

Students that call The Links Foundation say that exam problems are their most common cause of anxiety. So if you are feeling stressed out about exams, relax, you can bet that most of the other people around you are feeling the same. Everyone goes on about success, and it can seem that your whole future is going to be determined in a couple of hours, regardless of all the hard work you have put in over the years.

Ease the stress

Whatever the reason, remember these points:

  • Give yourself a break – you can only absorb information for so long before it becomes confusing. You’re much more likely to remember stuff if you cut in plenty of breaks, even if it’s just making a cup of tea.
  • Try not to eat too much junk food and don’t drink alcohol, but do plan a big night out when the exams have finished.
  • Stress messes with people’s sleep patterns. Take time to relax before going to bed, that way, when you do hit the sack, you’ll fall asleep, rather than lie there worrying about all the work you’ve got to do.
  • Keep yourself busy. When you’re not studying, do things you enjoy. Treat yourself.
  • And don’t forget: failing isn’t the end of the world. It’s a pain, it’s frustrating, you might even get aggro from your parents. But at the end of the day, it’s only an exam. And there are always re-sits.

Get it off your chest

Ok, so no one can sit the exams for you, but have a chat to family, friends, student advice centres or teachers or lecturers. It helps to get your worries off your chest and you’re bound to find someone who can relate to what you’re feeling. No matter how much the idea of failing an exam is getting on top of you, don’t sit down and worry on your own. You’ll just get bogged down and things will start to seem far worse than they are. If you want to talk to someone on the quiet, call CALM, who are totally used to dealing with students going through exactly the same thing as you.