Beating That Exam Stress

It’s that time of year again, exams left right and centre. For some, it’s finals, and it’s a little scary to think if I hadn’t transferred from Oxford Brookes, that’d be me too, but I’m just sitting end of year exams instead. Either way, exams can be, and usually are stressful. 

 At school we used to get given talks, booklets and advice on dealing with exams. Now, at university, I’ll be lucky to even see a member of staff in the summer term. There seems to be a common theme, and I believe a
facebook page stating that for GCSE’s you revise months in advance, A-Levels, weeks and University, days. I can’t argue against that, days may be a little harsh; I do usually allow at least a week of solid revision. 

 But there are several things you can do to make life easier for yourself: 


My favourite word.. we were given our one exam date in about February, so if I were to have prepared properly for this exam, I would have had a revision timetable to stick to, I’d have all my notes prepared and ready, obviously in a usable format so with headings, subheadings and highlighted.

Past Papers
I actually find these the most helpful thing ever, if I go through about five past papers, revising answers as I go, I usually find that in an exam, you are more than ok. Of course, this time around, we are doing a new module so there are no past papers. But everyone has their own revision style, some prefer posters, notes, tests, reading – do what you know suits you. And at 21, you’d assume we have all done enough exams to have an idea which method we perform better in.

Eat and Sleep Well
I can safely say - and I’m sure most other people in the industry are the same – I think I’m doing quite well if I’ve had one sit down meal that day and got 5 hours sleep the night before. This is not good practice before an exam. 

On the day
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the exam - if your university is anything like ours, our exams are never on campus, always a good idea to find out which hotel/location it’s at this time and where exactly that is.
  • Take everything you will need: -
    • My exam pack: - A black and blue pen, a bottle of water, tissues.
In the exam
  •  Read through the paper first, and instructions twice.
  • Plan your time per question, leaving 5 minutes at the end to read everything through.
  • If you do run out of time, bullet point the rest of the facts you were going to cover, this will get you more marks than if you just leave it.
  • Try to avoid “exam talk” after. 
    • This is just a personal preference, but I never understood what use it would do. The exam has been and gone, you cannot change the answers. Hearing someone did a different question or mentioned a different theory to you is not going to help, and at the end of the day, they’re the same level you are, you won’t know if either were wrong or right until you receive your grades back.
So a few exam tips to remember and practice. For further tips and a helpful revision tips, see Mike White's blog. 

Good luck everyone!

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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