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There’s no getting away from the fact that exams are stressful. Even if you’re confident about the subject, you’ll start second-guessing yourself and wondering if you’ve ‘done enough’.

The truth is, there’s no way of figuring that out and you’ll likely always feel as if you could’ve done more. So, instead of letting those nagging concerns get to you, take a few steps to relieve your stress.

Take regular breaks

No matter how much work you think you have to do, you won’t do yourself any favours by trying to do it all at once.

Typically, only the first 40 to 50 minutes of a studying block is effective for most students, so pushing yourself on and on won’t help you retain more information – it’ll just slip right through your brain.

Get some sunlight

When you’re taking those regular breaks, see if you can catch a bit of sunlight too.

Scientific studies show that there’s a connection between low mood and lack of sunlight – that’s why many of us feel a little down during the winter months.

Boosting your mood with 15 minutes of sunlight every now and then could improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and ease your stress.

Declutter your workspace

You might be someone who lives in organised chaos – you know where everything is as long as no one else touches it.

However, this clutter might be having an adverse effect on your stress levels. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that multiple items in your eyeline essentially compete for attention and raise your anxiety levels.

Try clearing your desk, so you’re focusing on one thing at a time.

Don’t multitask

When you try and do more than one thing at once, the result is that no one thing captures your attention fully.

Plus, going back and forth between them is liable to cause you stress and the work you do won’t be of a high quality as you’ve been unable to concentrate on it.

The likelihood is that you’ll end up doing that work again – probably raising your stress levels even more!


Exam season is probably not the time to be training for a marathon, but a bike ride around the local park or a trip to the swimming pool could go some way to easing your stress levels.

Not only does it get you away from your desk, exercise has also been shown to have a positive effect on wellbeing in young people.

Know who you can talk to

Some schools have counsellors on hand during exam season. They know all about stress and will be able to give you some tips on how to cope with it.

If your school doesn’t have a counsellor and you’d rather not talk to your family or friends, you can always call Childline to talk confidentially about your exam stress and other worries you may have. Sometimes, just talking it through helps.