Navigating Exam Stress: Strategies for Preparation and Well-Being

Exams can be a source of stress and anxiety for many, causing sleepless nights, nervousness, and a fear of the unknown.

It’s crucial to acknowledge these feelings and take proactive steps to manage them effectively. In this blog, we’ll explore the common causes of exam stress, its impact on you, and practical strategies to prepare you for exams while maintaining mental well-being.



Understanding Exam Stress:

  • Identify the Sources: Exam stress often stems from various sources, such as fear of failure, time constraints, lack of preparation, or peer pressure. Identifying the specific factors contributing to stress is the first step towards addressing them.
  • Normalising Stress: It’s essential to understand that feeling stressed before exams is a common experience. It’s a natural response to a challenging situation. Normalising stress can help alleviate the additional pressure that comes from feeling like you’re the only one struggling.



Effective Preparation Strategies:

  • Create a Realistic Study Schedule: Break down your study material into manageable chunks and create a realistic study schedule.
  • Active Learning Techniques: Instead of passively reading through textbooks, engage in active learning techniques such as summarising information in your own words, creating flashcards, or teaching the material to someone else.
  • Practice with Past Papers: Familiarise yourself with the exam format.
  • Take Breaks and Prioritise Self-Care: Avoid burnout by scheduling regular breaks.


Coping with Exam Anxiety:

  • Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: When anxiety creeps in, practice deep breathing.
  • Positive Visualisation: Imagine yourself successfully navigating the exam.
  • Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to talk to friends, family, or teachers about your concerns.




Exams are a part of academic life, but they don’t have to be synonymous with overwhelming stress. By adopting effective preparation strategies, maintaining a healthy balance, and actively managing stress, you can approach exams with confidence and resilience. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but the journey of learning and growth that exams offer.

Written by Pattison staff members and mental health leads, Mumta Patria and Charlotte Plastow –

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