Worrying about exams
Exam stress can affect anyone. You might be worried about doing enough revision, getting the grades you need or feel pressure from your school or family.
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.
Tips for coping with stress:
- write down your worries - then throw the paper away or share how you're feeling with someone you trust
- use the Art box to draw a picture of how you want to feel or what you want to happen
- look at our advice about taking care of yourself
- listen to calming music
- play a game to take your mind off your worries and stress for a bit
- remember, exams don't last forever.
Coping with pressure
Exams can feel like a lot of pressure. You might need certain grades for a course or job. Or your parents, carers or teachers might be putting pressure on you. You might be putting lots of pressure on yourself as well.
No matter where the pressure is coming from, there are ways to help you cope:
- Think positively
When we feel anxious, we can start thinking things like ‘I can’t do this’ 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’.
- Be honest about how you feel
Sometimes people can put pressure on you without even realising and sometimes it can help to talk about how it makes you feel. Talking about things can help you to think about other ways they can support you in the future. If you’re worried about telling someone, you can always talk to us.
- Don’t compare yourself to your friends
Competing with your friends can help to keep you motivated. But it can also make you feel like you’re not good enough, especially on social media. Try keeping a list of the revision you’ve done so you can see how much you’re achieving.
- Let your stress out
Struggling with mental health during exams
Exams and mental health
Watch: Social pressures at exam time
Coping with other problems at exam time
Trying to revise when you’ve got other things you’re coping with can be tough. There are lots of things that can distract you, including:
- family arguments
- coping after someone dies
- problems with your girlfriend or boyfriend
- feeling like you want to self-harm
- being bullied
- looking after people in your family.
Talking to an adult you trust, like a teacher means they could help you to find time to revise when you won’t be disturbed, or talk to your family and carers about what’s happening.
In some serious situations, your school might be able to make exceptions, such as marking your exam papers based on your work throughout the year, but your teacher can discuss this with you.