Family & Home

Beating exam stress

With GSCEs well under way for many, Jessica Simpson looks back at taking hers last year and has this advice on keeping calm…


It feels like there’s more pressure than ever on students these days. The nerves, stress, tiredness and anxiety of studying for your GCSEs can really affect your mental health. 

The qualifications also seem to be harder and there is so much content to get through.

I spoke to a few friends who also sat their exams last year, one told me that students are made to think it is the “end of the world” if they don’t pass exams.  Another said they got five hours of sleep per night during the period of exams, making them feel even more nervous and stressed when sitting the actual tests.

Unfortunately, there are so many students who work hard, revise, pay attention but still don’t get the grades they deserve – it’s tough.


It wasn’t that long ago I did my GCSEs; they were stressful, but overall I coped with the stress quite well and always put my mental health first. 

I think this helped me come out of the experience better. I worked hard and didn’t go out loads so I could revise and it paid off I got my GCSE’s and did well, thankfully. 

Here’s my top tips on the best ways to stay calm during exam season:

  1. Set yourself times to revise. Whenever I came home from school I never jumped straight into revising. Your brain is working hard all day give it some time to cool off. I used to get home about three and start revising at four and then stopped at 8:30pm. Revising for thirty minute periods and then having a thirty- minute break. 
  2. Have time off. I would give myself evenings off, days off from revising. It’s essential otherwise you’ll just burn out and lose all your energy. While you may think you don’t have time you will come out better for it.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. This has got to be one of the most important things. During GCSEs I went to bed every night at about 10pm after having an hour and a half of down time. If you’re tired you can’t concentrate and if you can’t concentrate, you can’t learn. Don’t stay up late to revise. Just don’t it’s a terrible idea.
  4. Don’t study if you’re not in the mood. If you’re not feeling it the chances are you won’t concentrate and you might misread bits of information. Studying when you’re not in the right of frame mind isn’t going to benefit anyone.
  5. Talk to teachers, family, friends. They’re there to support you, if the stress is too much talk to them.
  6. All in it together. You and your friends are doing the same exams and are all feeling the same – along with the other thousands of students across the country so remember you are not alone! But that doesn’t make your feelings any less important.
studying girl

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