Health and Wellbeing

8 tips to help you manage exam stress

It’s that time of the year where you will be revising for your exams, here Amy from our Wellbeing Team offers some useful tips to help you cope with exam stress …


It is normal to feel a little bit of stress (some level of stress can help you focus), too much of it can lead you to feel out of control and can make it harder for you to take in information. When we feel stressed, the fight or flight response is activated. This may cause fatigue, difficulty in getting up, poor appetite and increased irritability if maintained for long periods of time.

Here are some tips to help you cope with stress:

1. Know how you work

It is important that you are aware of where and when you work best. Think about the time of the day that you feel most alert and the place that makes you focus most and where you feel calmest. Perhaps you could alternate your work space to keep revision fresh and to avoid boredom.
Find out when the libraries on campus are open.

2. Sleep early

Revising late at night can make it very hard for you to get up for the actual exam, not to mention that it isn’t good for your health! Ensure you have done some revision before dinner and stop revising 1 hour before sleep, so that your brain has a chance to switch off.

3. Don’t compare

Avoid comparing your knowledge with friends before or after the exam. Just because they appear to know more, does not mean that they actually do, or that they will do better in the exam. Comparing will only make you or your friends panic about things you can’t change.

4. Eat well

A quick fast food fix may look tempting when you are up late revising. However, your body and brain need proper fuel for revision. Eat fresh fruit and veg, swap chocolate snacks for high protein nuts, and try not to consume too much caffeine to ensure good quality sleep.
Read our blog for tips on how to eat well on a budget.

5. Reward yourself

Factor revision breaks into your study to rest your brain. Reward yourself with something you enjoy, be it a walk in the sunshine, or 20 minutes of your favourite TV show, or book. It will motivate you to concentrate on your revision.

6. Exercise

It can seem like you don’t have the time to exercise when you are revising, but it actually makes you more productive afterwards! It helps you to de-stress and releases feel-good endorphins. Try walking, going to the gym, or going for a jog. Have you tried the University’s sport services?

7. Recognise stress signals

If you are feeling stressed, take a break and talk to someone. If you feel yourself starting to panic, stop what you’re doing and take deep breaths; breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Do this until you begin to feel calmer.


8. Exams are just exams (and that’s coming from us!)

Although they can feel immeasurably important, there is more to being successful than your exam performance. Remember that you worked hard and that you can’t change anything after you have sat the exam.

Getting Support

Find out about some useful apps, or helpful resources that can help you reduce stress. Come see a member of our team during our drop-in service – we’ll be more than happy to show you some practical solutions:
· Monday – Friday, 3pm – 3.45pm, 50 Park Place
· Wednesday, 9.30am – 10.15am, 50 Park Place
· Wednesday, 3pm-3.45pm, 2nd floor Cardigan House.

Mindfulness Workshops in January

Mindfulness can be a way to live life more in the present, thinking less about the past and worrying less about the future. It can help you to live less judgmentally and worry less about the judgement of others. This can have benefits physically and psychologically. It can be about practicing how to be more present and enjoying ‘the moment’, or about learning to reduce stress in your University life through meditation. It can help you right now, and also in the future, giving you valuable skills to carry forward into your working life.
Please wear comfortable, loose layered clothing and bring an open mind. These workshops will run on Wednesday 11 January and Wednesday 18 January. There will be two sessions on each date, between 2pm-3pm and 3.30pm and 4.30pm. There is no need to book on to these workshops, so please just come along to Room 302, Student’s Union.


Exam Advice and Tips – more blog posts to take a look at


Contact Us

The Counselling, Health & Wellbeing team are used to dealing with all manner of things. Our team of professionals offer a confidential service that aims to support students. Please contact us in confidence by email, telephone or call in, whichever suits you best.

Keep up to date with all of our blogs, videos and posts by following us on twitter and facebook.


Best wishes
Amy, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team


Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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