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Stressed about exams? Worried about an exam you've just taken? Read here for support! watch

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    Hey everyone.

    It was brought to my attention that the NSPCC has reported a 200% increase in counselling over exam stress in recent years. By just browsing TSR too, I've seen loads of people feeling stressed about exams, be it GCSEs, A-Levels, IB exams etc.

    We thought it'd be a nice idea to create a follow up thread to my first thread regarding exam stress. The idea of the previous thread was to give people the motivation or the sense of belief that they could do it. The idea of this thread, however, is more to help support those who are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of pressure that they are currently facing. Using some personal experience again and by giving some general advice, I'll try to address some common questions that I was asked in my first thread, as well as some common scenarios/concerns I've seen floating around this forum.

    I have my exam soon but I feel like I don't know anything!
    Feeling under prepared for exams often stems from the belief that not enough revision was carried out. It is fairly natural, I think, to feel as though you could have done more revision as exams come closer and closer. Whilst a little bit of stress in this way is not necessarily a bad thing in that it can help keep you working towards your goal as opposed to becoming complacent, too much can lead to a whole spiral of becoming more and more stressed and to people even giving up. It is important to try not to let your stress levels spiral like this.

    In this situation, it is important to take a step back, relax and to reassure yourself that you probably do know much more than you think you do. In my own experiences, taking a quick break to undertake an activity that you enjoy (e.g. I quite enjoy playing sports) and then going back to work can help clear your mind of these negative thoughts. I can't remember ever going into an exam and feeling as though I knew everything so just remember that it is completely natural to feel that way. Just because you feel like you don't know anything doesn't necessarily mean that it's true. :nah:

    I started my revision too late and now I'm all stressed out. Is it still possible for me to do well?
    This can be a tricky situation but don't beat yourself up over it! Yes, it is very easy to feel frustrated at yourself for not starting sooner but try not to dwell too much on the past. Instead, try to see some positives and work your way from there.

    When I was doing my A-Levels, for example, we had an M1 mock about a week before the actual exam. Because of outside circumstances and not revising as well as I could have, I ended up with a D grade in the mock when I was aiming for an A. Given that I had just a week or so before the exam, I obviously became a bit worried!

    Instead of dwell on this too much and panic though, I decided to not give up and work as hard as I could to see if I could possibly make a difference. I also realised that, even though I did not do nearly as well as I would have liked, there were some positives I could take out of the mock. For example, despite having quite a lot on my plate and not starting revision as early as I would have liked, I'd still managed to score almost 3/4 of the paper correct. Sure, the grade wasn't particularly impressive but it was a start. Using that, I tried to motivate myself to just keep working to the final day and try my level best.

    The exam came and went and then came results day. I looked at my Maths result and before reading my overall result, I looked at my individual module results. I found M1. It was marked out of 100UMS and somehow the mark next to it was...100. Never tell yourself that it's too late until the very last minute. Obviously it is best to start revision as early as possible but if you don't manage to do that, don't give up - just work as hard as you can from this point and you never know, you may end up surprising yourself.

    My parents/teachers are putting pressure on me.
    It seems to be common for people to feel as though they are being put under pressure by their parents or teachers. It can sometimes help to look at it from their perspective and to understand that they want the best for you. However, sometimes the expectations from your parents/teachers can be unrealistic and this can be a difficult situation to be in.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to give good advice on this matter without knowing the full circumstances. In general, although it may seem daunting, sometimes just having a quiet word with your parents/teachers can be very helpful in aiding them to understand the pressure that they're putting you under. If you do decide to have a quiet word with them, it's best to not sound as though you're accusing them too much as people tend to become defensive if it sounds like that. Instead, try to avoid using the word "you" too much when explaining things to them as I found that this seems to help politely get your point across. If talking to them seems to be too daunting, you could consider speaking to someone else who you trust about it to see if they'd be willing to have a word. Otherwise, writing a small note to them explaining how you're feeling could also help.

    I just can't stop worrying about them!
    If you find yourself constantly worrying about your exams, you may find that yourself experience a range of stress-related symptoms that can make you feel even worse. These symptoms can vary between individuals but for me personally, I remember I used to experience horrible migraines, loss of appetite and constant tiredness.

    If you do feel as though you're worrying a bit too much about exams, there are a number of things that can help. From my own experiences, I found that just taking a step back to relax would really help clear my mind and help ease me for my exams. Not only did this help lower my stress levels, but it also helped me stay more focussed in terms of my academic work and revision. The main issue people seem to have with relaxing or taking a step back is thinking: "OMG, I'm not revising, I'm wasting so much time!" It is important to realise though that taking breaks like this is just as important as revising and that relaxing will serve to help you as opposed to waste your time.

    Other than relaxing and taking breaks, it is important to ensure that you have a good sleeping pattern. For those of you who know me, you'll know that I'm being a bit hypocritical when I say that (I never kept a good sleeping pattern when I was doing my A-Levels :flute:) but I found that a lack of sleep really did worsen how I was feeling. If you do find it difficult to sleep because of how much you have on your mind, see if you can speak to anyone you trust about how you're feeling. I don't know why, but letting things out in the air like that can really help you feel a bit less uneasy about things.

    I've just done an exam and I think it went so badly
    A year or so ago after I did one of my A-Level Physics exams, I came home very down and upset, sure that I'd messed up the exam badly. I wasn't having anyone tell me that I might have done OK and was adamant that things went badly. As a result, I spent months worrying and panicking about the exam, dreading results day. Come results day and I found out that somehow I'd done MUCH better than I was expecting.

    My point is that I'd wasted so much time and energy worrying about this exam when instead, I could have been enjoying my summer and taking a much needed break. It really is true when people say that there's not much point worrying about the papers you've done as worrying won't change anything. I'm not trying to convince people that their exams were fine I know that this can frustrate people but just remember that you don't know for sure how you've done until results day. Until then, try not to waste too much energy worrying and just concentrate on your next exam or just relax.

    Also remember that even if on results day you find that you've not done as well as you hoped, there are still plenty of options and it's not the end of the world.

    A note for A-Level students regarding retakes...
    As a result of the new reforms for exams, many A-Level students have been worried about whether or not they can retake their exams next year and this has been stressing lots of people out. I thought I'd just add this to reassure everyone that it WILL still be possible to retake A-Level exams of the current specification. Some colleges may have policies not allowing retakes but that doesn't mean that you can't retake privately next year.

    Obviously try your level best in these exams but don't stress about not being able to retake just in case.

    I'm just not coping, I need help
    If you feel as though things are becoming very hard for you, you may wish to take a trip to the GP to speak to them about how you're feeling. Otherwise, there are some other services that you could consider using:

    • Childline - despite their name, they offer support to people up to and including the age of 18. They can be contacted by phone, email or you can have a 1:1 instant messaging chat with them online.
    • Samaritans - they offer support to anyone about pretty much anything. They can be contacted by phone, email or letter.
    • The Site - they have several advice pages about exams and other stuff. They can also be contacted for advice.


    If you have any questions or your own advice on how to deal with stress, feel free to add it here.

    Good luck to everyone with exams!
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    Thanks
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    A very helpful thread thanks again!

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    What a great thread - nice idea, Usy
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    Section Leader
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    PRSOM Usy
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    (Original post by crayolaguy)
    Thanks
    No worries.

    (Original post by Ben4)
    A very helpful thread thanks again!

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    Glad you found it useful! When's your next exam?

    (Original post by Neuth)
    What a great thread - nice idea, Usy
    Thank you. However, She-Ra gets the credit for the idea.

    (Original post by Gingerbread101)
    PRSOM Usy
    :awesome:
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    (Original post by usycool1)
    No worries.



    Glad you found it useful! When's your next exam?



    Thank you. However, She-Ra gets the credit for the idea.



    :awesome:
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    (Original post by usycool1)
    No worries.



    Glad you found it useful! When's your next exam?



    Thank you. However, She-Ra gets the credit for the idea.



    :awesome:
    My next exam is Psychology on Monday, then History and Maths on the Wednesday and Biology on the thursday.. intense lol

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    Thank you
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    That was very helpful
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    This is an excellent post, really good advice! I think you've just rejuvenated my motivation for this exam season. Thank you
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    Popped up right when I was needing it, thanks Usy.
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    Hi Usy, do you know if you can retake Science ISAs/EMPAs, guaranteed UMS down-bringer :/

    Once again, great thread, thankyou.
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    Really useful, thank you!
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    Thanks for the post! I'm having the exact same stress related symptoms as you did; glad to know I'm dying anymore lol
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    (Original post by Ben4)
    My next exam is Psychology on Monday, then History and Maths on the Wednesday and Biology on the thursday.. intense lol

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    Good luck with them! :awesome:

    (Original post by McBen)
    Thank you
    (Original post by Mazp226hql)
    That was very helpful
    (Original post by Husuma24)
    This is an excellent post, really good advice! I think you've just rejuvenated my motivation for this exam season. Thank you
    (Original post by Midnightmemories)
    Popped up right when I was needing it, thanks Usy.
    (Original post by lauraa_barneyy)
    Really useful, thank you!
    No worries, I'm glad you all found it useful.

    (Original post by holylee)
    Thanks for the post! I'm having the exact same stress related symptoms as you did; glad to know I'm dying anymore lol
    No problem! Ah I hope they subside a bit soon. I hated the migraines the most. :shakecane:

    (Original post by Bobjim12)
    Hi Usy, do you know if you can retake Science ISAs/EMPAs, guaranteed UMS down-bringer :/

    Once again, great thread, thankyou.
    Hey As far as I know, you should still be able to retake ISA/EMPAs as long as your centre lets you.

    No worries, glad you liked it.
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    That was really useful thank you! I actually do feel like I did horribly in an exam last week (maths) but reading your post made me feel much better.. and there are 2 more maths exams to go.. So i probably could boost the grade up by working harder for the other 2 maths exams..
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    I feel so stressed.
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    (Original post by Kadak)
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    I feel so stressed.
    To make you feel better... you're not the only one!
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    i found hope
 
 
 

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