Exam Pressure

It is normal to feel worried about exams, especially if you're under pressure from school or family.

Pressure to do well in exams can be overwhelming and affect your mental health.

The pressure can cause you to feel anxious or depressed. It can also affect your physical health, your sleep or eating habits. 

When it comes to exams, remember that whilst they may be important and helpful in getting you to the next step of your journey, not everyone will or needs to get good exam results to live a happy and successful life. There are so many options for where your life may take you but it can be worrying if you’re not sure or feel the pressure to succeed academically. To cope as best you can in your exams, it’s really important that you balance working hard and revising with having breaks and down time. Just as a marathon runner can’t run every day, you need study free time/ days. Make sure you see your friends, have breaks, go out, spend time doing your hobbies and interests, have fun. Look after your physical and emotional health by eating and drinking regularly, getting enough sleep, doing some physical activity as well as resting.

Signs and Symptoms of Exam Stress

Here are some examples of exam stress:

  • worrying a lot
  • feeling tense
  • headaches and stomach pains
  • not sleeping well
  • irritable
  • losing interest in food or eating more than normal
  • not enjoying activities you used to enjoy
  • being negative  
  • low mood
  • feeling hopeless about the future

If exam pressure is taking over your life, YoungMinds suggest:

  • Let your friends, family and school or college know you are struggling
  • Ask for help. Think about all the practical support you need
  • Try to find a study group or start your own

If you are struggling to cope and need help now visit our Help I'm in Crisis page.

Tips for the Exam Season

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day
  • Take breaks and don’t sacrifice your social life or activities
  • Remember not everyone studies the same way
  • Focus on you and don't compare yourself to others
  • Eat well
    • Eat a healthy diet as shown in the Eatwell Guide
    • Make sure you have eaten before your exam
    • Stay hydrated
  • Sleep well
    • Sleep will improve your thinking and concentration. Aim for 8 to 10 hours sleep a night.
    • Visit the Teen Sleep Hub for tips and videos
  • Get support
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