Updated: Aug 5, 2021
We share some useful wisdom about how students can keep calm for exams.
Sometimes we all struggle to keep calm when we’re under pressure – keeping the nerves reigned in when you have a big deadline coming up, or you’re about to face a big fear of yours, or if you’ve just got one too many things on your plate can be difficult. Because of this, unsurprisingly, one of the hardest things about exam season is knowing how to keep a cool head in the face of your looming GCSEs, A Levels or uni exams.
Trust us, even the kid in your class who gets straight A*s and is the first to answer all the teacher’s questions is probably working hard to keep the nerves down inside! Luckily, there are ways to keep the stress at bay, so that you can face your exams with a clear head and achieve the marks you know you can. We’ve found that the following options should be considered if you’re feeling the burn and want to keep your blood pressure down:
1) Try to alter your perception of exams. Instead of thinking of exams as something that you need to pass in order to get into uni, or get a job, think of them as an indicator of your strengths and weaknesses, and as a chance to make yourself proud rather than achieve some other standard. This way, a huge amount of external pressure will be taken off your shoulders, and you can focus on getting a good mark for yourself. Sure, if you’re looking to get into university, then they will be looking for your results to match their standard, but what’s more important is that you’re happy with how you did.
2) A clean environment reflects a clear mind. This might sound a bit odd, but I think it’s pretty fair to say that if you don’t take care of your surroundings, you start to feel a bit muddled yourself. If your bedroom floor is messy, your desk top is cluttered or the files on your laptop aren’t in order then there poses a risk of unwanted distractions and peripheral mess cluttering your line of thought. If you keep your revision materials in a neat pile on your desk, have your tabs and files sorted and ready, and your pencils where you left them this will make you feel organised and on top of things. Making sure to keep your surroundings and materials in order means you can focus on getting exam knowledge in your brain rather than trying to remember where you left your Maths textbook…
3) Make a schedule. Sometimes it feels like you have endless topics to cover and not enough time to get through them – as a result knowing where to start without worrying that you’ve neglected a topic or course can be quite tricky and stress-inducing. The easiest way to conquer this is to make a weekly plan of what classes to revise each week. That way, if you’re getting stressed out about a class you haven’t covered one day, you can look at your schedule and literally see that you’ve already pencilled in a time to do it, and you’ll feel much more at ease.
4) Be kind to yourself. Not understanding things can be stressful, and knowing that you really don’t understand trigonometry can be upsetting when you have a Maths exam coming up. If you’re still struggling after a couple of weeks of revision, then instead of beating yourself up, remind yourself of your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Not good at Maths? That doesn’t feel so bad when you know you’re good at English, or French, or Physics. It’s always good to keep the positive vibes going, and your weaknesses don’t negate your strengths. Always remind yourself of your positive traits and skills when you’re faced with stress!
5) Remember that the world keeps turning, even after exams. OK, so what if things don’t go well in the exam? What is really the worst that could happen? You might not get into your first choice of uni, but wherever you end up you will 100% make the most out of it and end up grateful you went there! You might not get a grade high enough to take the course to A Level, but there are so many other chances to study topics in a BTEC, Access course or HNC. There are so many options and paths to take – and many of them will still be there no matter what you get in your exams, as Leticia's article on coping with disappointing exam results explains. If you take these things into consideration, as well as any upcoming treats for after exams, it’s likely that you’ll feel less stressed, better organised, and go into the exams with a clear head.
So chill out, destress and get yourself through those exams!
Blog Post Crafted by Madeleine
Madeleine runs our Admin Team. Despite the fact that she read Japanese at university, Madeleine’s main passion in life is opera and she hopes to become the next Maria Callas some day...
Madeleine manages the staff on our Admin Team, liaising with tutors, clients and applicants. She is responsible for processing the ID, Qualifications, DBS Check and References for all our newly joining tutors.