Coping with Exams

Advice for students and parents

Taking GCSEs can feel like a big responsibility, and we understand that exam stress can be a problem for some young people. However, there are plenty of practical ways we can help ourselves to manage this period in our lives effectively.

Worrying about Exams

Exam stress can start when you feel you can’t cope with revision, or feel pressure from your school or family. You might worry you’re going to fail or you won’t get the grades you need for the course or job you want, but we’ve got advice and tips on coping.

It can seem scary to talk about stress or anxiety. You might feel like nobody else is feeling this way. But bottling up stress and trying to deal with it on your own can often make the stress worse. So it can really help to talk.

Exam Results and Expectations

When we feel anxious, we often give ourselves negative messages like: ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m useless’ and ‘I’m going to fail’. It can be difficult but try to replace these with positive thoughts such as: ‘this is just anxiety, it can’t harm me’ and, ‘relax, concentrate – it’s going to be okay’.

Picturing how you’d like things to go can help you feel more positive. Try to imagine yourself turning up to an exam feeling confident and relaxed. You turn over your paper, write down what you do know and come away knowing you tried your best on the day.

It can sometimes feel like your whole future depends on what grades you get. There can be a lot of pressure on young people to do well in exams which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

You might have been predicted certain grades or put into a higher set, and feel if you don’t get the grade you’ll let your teachers or parents down.

Remember, exams are important – but they’re not the only way to a successful future. Lots of people achieve success in life without doing well in school exams.

Tips for coping with stress:

  • Create a revision timetable, then check every task off as you go. Seeing it reduce will help.
  • Eat sensibly and regularly, it’s good for us to look after ourselves.
  • Go for a walk or do some exercise.
  • Listen to some calming music.
  • Play a game to take your mind off your worries for a while.
  • Remember that everyone’s different – try not to compare yourself to your friends.

For additional help and advice check out the NHS Moodzone website. There you will find helpful tips for young people, parents and carers alike. Watch the video too; ‘Coping with Exams, Watch how teenagers prepared for their GCSEs.’

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