Published: 20 February 2023

Exam stress

Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life for children, young people and their parents or carers.

One of the reasons exams can be stressful is we cannot totally control the outcome. There is always a worry that we might not be able to do what we are hoping to do.

The good news is that a little bit of stress can be helpful. However, it is important to recognise this stress and ensure that it is kept in proportion.

Most people experience pressure, stress and anxiety when it comes to exams, and people deal with it in very different ways.

You may notice you experience

  • Lack of concentration or difficulty in remembering
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Feeling irritable and annoyed
  • You are more likely to catch a cold or feel generally unwell
  • High levels of stress can lead to anxiety and depression
  • Feelings of worry and anxiety can increase

Having someone to talk to about schoolwork can help. Support from a parent, tutor or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.

  • A balanced diet is important and can help you to feel well during exam periods
  • Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration
  • Be flexible around exam time
  • Make sure you have somewhere comfortable to study.
  • Consider who can support you with revision
  • Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress
  • It is okay to talk about exam nerves