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To Sam


what is the best way to relax if you are scared to go into an exam and you dont really want to go but you have to. what advice woulod you give
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you're struggling with exam nerves and I am really pleased that you have written to ask for advice.

A lot of people worry about exams but as you have said it is something that you have to do. I have some techniques that may help. It might be useful for you to start thinking about how to cope before the exam. By planning your revision early you can prepare yourself with as much knowledge as possible. It is also important for you to take rest periods during your revision, as you need to look after yourself.

Taking the time to plan a revision timetable that's realistic, flexible and fits in with your exams is really useful. When planning it, it would help if you gave yourself clear priorities and try to balance your revision with other demands on your time - meals, sleep, chores or other commitments, as well as time for relaxing. Everyone needs time off and it's a bad idea to abandon a social life and sporting activities. However, for a period near the examinations cutting down on socialising a little bit may be a good idea. This may involve making hard choices and it may be that you have less free time as the exams get closer.

Learning how to relax is crucial. Practising simple relaxation techniques will be very helpful in the run-up to the exams and even when you are sitting in the exam room. Stress can make you start breathing with quick, shallow breaths and make your heart beat faster than usual. If this happens you could sit down, somewhere comfortable if possible. Place one hand on your stomach and check how quickly you are breathing. If it’s one breath every couple of seconds, take a deep breath and start counting steadily. Breathe out slowly and try to get the last of the breath out on about five seconds. Carry on doing this until you are doing it naturally. You can read a bit more about managing your anxiety here.

We have some useful information about coping with exam stress. You’re also welcome to talk to a ChildLine counsellor about how you are feeling at any time. You can contact ChildLine by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat or by calling us on 0800 1111 (this is a free number and it won’t show up on your bill).

Best of luck with your exams,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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