I’m stressed about exams

It’s normal to feel a bit stressed before tests or exams – it helps you stay motivated and alert. But sometimes anxiety can take over completely: you can’t think straight, your heart races, you feel hot, dizzy or you have trouble breathing. You’re literally paralysed by fear.

And it doesn’t help when everyone seems to be telling you how important these exams are:

  • ‘Your whole career depends on these results.’
  • ‘We want you to make us proud.’
  • ‘If you study hard now you’ll have a better lifestyle later.’

It’s time for a reality check

This is not the most important time of your life

The truth is, happiness doesn’t depend on getting straight As or doing well at school or uni. It has way more to do with resilience and persistence. You do your best and if it doesn’t work out, you try something else.

Luck play a big part

Life is random and we always have less control than we think. You might get the questions you were hoping for on your exam or you might not. Accepting what you get keeps your mind clear so you can do your best. ‘It is what it is.’

There is no such thing as failure

The only failure is the failure to do your personal best. You’re not there to do the exam on behalf of your parents, teachers or anyone else. You’re doing it for you.

Tips for doing your best

  • Stick to your study plan.
  • Take regular breaks for exercise and food.
  • Try and block out mass social media at this point. What you need is one or two friends to share experiences with, people who can also support you.
  • If your parents are putting too much pressure on you, you need to tell them so they pull back. This is about you.
  • If you find the anxiety is overwhelming, talk to someone: a school counsellor, teacher you like, parent, friend or doctor.