Preparation tips

If you get really bad in the run up to exams or assessments

  • The day before: check time, venue etc of each exam and prepare your bag
  • Have some breakfast – fuel will help your performance. Try something light if you’re feeling queasy
  • Review prompt cards or brief notes (don’t start anything new)
  • Do something else the last hour before the exam and try to relax
  • Know yourself: if it helps, chat to friends to ease nerves or listen to music till you go into the room
  • Use slow, relaxing breaths to calm and focus your mind
  • Read all the exam questions thoroughly before you start writing
  • Before you start your presentation, smile and make eye contact with your audience.
  • If you start to panic, say stop to yourself, and take a few moments to look out of the window and calm down
  • Move onto another question in an exam if the first one confuses you
  • Say well done to yourself at the end
  • Have a break or reward before starting more revision

Exam and Assessment Stress

Make an appointment with your GP who will be able look at treatment options and referral to specialist services if appropriate. 


Watch this video for an unusual way of beating exam stress on YouTube 


Useful websites

MIND's website includes a series of questions and answers on how to deal with exam stress.

Being a student involves lots of assessments and tests of your learning and abilities. They also test your ability to cope under pressure. 

Exams are bound to be stressful but stress has its benefits – by helping you reach peak performance. You can make it work to your advantage. 

As a general rule, the 3 steps to managing exam and assessment stress are:

1. Preparation

2. Preparation

3. Preparation

Getting organised and putting in the revision will help you to keep calm and give reassurance that you’ve done your best.

Exam or assessment time

  • ​​ Get a copy of the syllabus, find out what you’re being tested on and catch up on any missing notes
  • If your mind wanders when revising, get up and have a break such as go for a short walk, make a hot drink or wash up
  • Build in rewards like watching your favourite TV programme or go see a film
  • Try different revision techniques. The Open University website has a useful guide    
  • Build in some physical activity or exercise – this will help burn off any anxiety and produce feelings of wellbeing
  • Get a good night’s sleep 
  • Ensure that you eat well – light healthy meals with lots of fruit and vegetables will do you more good than a heavy take-away.
  • Drink lots of water and cut down on caffeine drinks and alcohol
  • Practise relaxation techniques or yoga. 
  • Keep saying ‘well done’ to yourself for what you’ve achieved so far

University of Lincoln Health Service ​​