How to Deal with Exam Stress

Carli S (Year 9), Chief Contributor

Let’s be honest – we have all experienced our fair share of exam stress. Even whilst writing this I’m worrying about the everlasting list of assessments due. In the past 10 years of going to WCC, only recently have I found a way to cope with exam stress – but trust me, taking the advice of others makes it a lot easier to survive exam season. It sounds basic, but if I actually followed the advice that my teachers and peers gave me, I would have saved myself so much stress. Below are a few basic steps to help you deal with your exam stress: 

  1. Make a timetable. A teacher’s first bit of advice when exam time comes around is to make a timetable. It seems too simple to be true, but sticking to a routine is almost as important as getting a good night’s sleep. It’s much easier to concentrate and to stay focused when you have a regular routine that shows you how much work you need to do … instead of leaving it to the last minute! Take the stress off of yourself and make a study timetable.
  2. Start small and reward yourself. Starting small can help you stay motivated. Once you’ve finished your first goal, give yourself a 10 minute break, then make the goals bigger and bigger until you’re done. This simple step can make a big project seem less intimidating. 
  3. Take breaks. Taking a quick break is like closing all the tabs on your computer – it will help you to readjust your focus and think a lot faster. Even taking a quick walk around the block can help you pay better attention to your work. It can give you a breather and will prevent your Safai/ Chrome – aka your brain – from shutting down altogether. 
  4. Talk to your teachers. Teachers have actually been through high school, so they understand what it is like to be where you are and will most likely give you some leniency. Teachers are here to help you and they know what you should be studying so if in doubt, just ask them questions! 
  5. Just breathe. Sounds incredibly simple – we do it without thinking – but taking a deep breath can help to calm yourself down. When you’re stressed, a deep breath can help clear your head and make things a lot simpler to understand. 
  6. Don’t overthink it, just keep things in focus. The work you’re doing isn’t rocket science, it’s the class work you have already done. It’s never bad to be prepared, yet you shouldn’t overthink it too much. Your main focus should be revising, not learning new things. 
  7. Don’t panic. If you are starting to panic, go back to step five, take a deep breath and go do something else. If you start to panic you should take some time away from your work, to give yourself some grace and help calm yourself.
  8. Write it down. When it comes to remembering things, it is so much easier when you have written it down. I know you have said it before “Don’t worry Miss, I’ll remember the homework!” … and then shamefully forget five seconds later.
  9. Clear away distractions. Clean your desk and close all your unneeded opened tabs – these two simple steps make it so much easier to stay focused.  
  10. Lastly – one exam will not ruin your life. If you do end up not getting the results you wanted, it won’t be the end of the world. Do not stress yourself out over results you have already received because there is not much else you can do.  

By using even a few of these steps you can help reduce exam stress and improve your study habits!