Coping with Exam Stress


You’ve left school and your GCSEs and A Levels are behind you. But now it’s time for University Exams…perhaps the scariest of them all! This time can be the most stressful you might experience. During my third year exams, I woke up at 1am convinced I had fallen asleep in the library. I walked around looking for my phone to call the Porters to unlock the door, and it was only when I thought about changing out of my pajamas that I realized I was actually in my own room! Exam stress can do some pretty weird things to us.

While a little bit of stress can help us do well, what follows is some advice about how to stop it becoming unmanageable. Don’t forget, if you need any other tips, get in touch with us on

1) Be organised

Work out what you need to do by when. Spend some time planning your revision and your free time. Ensure you have what you need to revise effectively, whether that be a new note pad, some flash cards or a tidy computer desktop.  

2) Find a revision style that works for you

It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, do what feels right for you. If flash cards work, use them. If recording your notes and listening back to them work, do it. If copying your notes over and over and over again on to a piece of paper works, then copy away. People learn differently and what works for one person may not work for you.

Don’t waste your time on things that aren’t as effective – stick to your own style!


3) Do practice exam papers

That being said, practice exam papers are helpful to everyone! It will allow you to get some ideas as to what structure the exam will take and perhaps give you some clues as to the sort of topics that might come up. Your library should hold copies of past exams. If you’re not sure, ask your lecturer!

4) Get a good ‘nights’ sleep




You need at least eight hours of sleep to function properly. If you find that you work best in the morning, it might be worth getting up a little earlier and going to bed a little earlier. If you are a night owl, there’s nothing wrong with staying in bed until 12pm so long as you are spending enough time in the evening doing that revision you need to (and you don’t miss that 9am exam). Again, find what works for you and ensure you are getting enough rest.




5) Eat well and stay hydrated


It might be tempting to binge on sweets and coffee during the exam period, but don’t forget that the come down from the sugar-rush can make you crash hard! Eat lots 

of fruit and veg and lots of protein to keep your brain working at its best level.

Additionally, did you know that being even mildly dehydrated can have a huge impact on your concentration and performance levels? Staying hydrated in exam season is hugely important! There will be free water facilities around campus to help with this. 




6) Stay off your phone for a bit

It can be so tempting just to reply to that message or spend a little time scrolling, but save it for your break period. If you struggle to stay away from your phone, why not install a productivity app like Forest? This fun little app allows you to plant a virtual seed and if you stay off your phone, a tree will grow! Stay focused daily and your hard work will grow into a forest with different trees to collect! Even better, when users of the app plant virtual trees, the Forest team work with Trees for the Future to plant real life trees! So not only are you working hard for yourself, but for the environment too.

Toria Thomas and Beth Murphy

Tenancy Support and Wellbeing Coordinators