Tips for staying calm during an exam

Exams are here and stress levels rising even higher

We asked TSR users to share their best tips for avoiding exam panic.

Being in an exam hall makes everyone a bit anxious. How can you stay calm and make sure you do your best?

Here’s some ideas from the lovely TSR community, put together by @Lemur14.

Keep calm 

"If you blow on the tip of your thumb it helps slow down your heart rate – I always do it when I'm nervous."

– Little Robin

"In psychology, we practice a technique to remain calm – I think it’s called box breathing. You simply follow each line of a square.

"Begin with the first line: Breathe normally, visualising the line once you reach the other corner, next is to breathe deeply inhaling, use your eyes and move along the line top to bottom, then hold your breath from the right to left line and then exhale slowly again following from the bottom to the top of the line. Repeat four times at least."

– Fooxy2018

Stay hydrated 

"Drinking slow sips of water always helps me stay calm."

– Fooxy2018

Get into your own exam rhythm 

"Think about the order you answer questions – you don’t have to answer them in the order on the question paper – as long as the examiner can see which one you’re answering it will be fine."

– 04MR17

"I like to remember the idea, 'Don't get stuck, move on' – if I get stuck I sometimes just leave space and move on to the next question."

– Leviathan1741

Remember exam technique

"Make sure you can see the question you're answering while you're writing. It's easy to go off topic if the essay question is buried under the extract you've just finished analysing, or it's hidden below your pencil case."

– 04MR17

Don't forget timings

"Make sure you have clear sight of the time. After every question, check it. If you do that often enough you won't need to panic about running out of time."

– 04MR17

Try to enjoy your exams

"Act excited about exams, sounds silly but even pretending will train your brain not to feel so stressed you can’t do anything."

– starfab

"I make jokes to myself about the questions to help drown out the anxiety."

– 5h5

Believe in yourself…

"Believe in yourself and believe that you can do well in your exams."

– Ukvoltaire

"You are brilliant! Acknowledge that. Realise your own true potential and keep pushing."

–​​​​​​​ Foozy2018

… or at least believe others who believe in you

"I remember what my lovely English teacher told me: ‘Your grade doesn’t matter, as long as you stay a good person you will have made me proud.’"

– runningwithfoxes

Just try your best!

"I just try and remind myself that as long as I try my best that's all they can ask of me."

– Little Robin

"Go and be amazing, you have nothing to lose."

– 04MR17

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