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Preparing for exams 

Yikes.. it's exam season and it feels like everyone around you has a plan?

The key is to stay calm and focused.

It is OK to feel a little bit stressed or anxious - it makes us work harder.

But try to get organised and the rest will follow. Setting up a revision plan is a good place to begin.

Set out which subjects you need to study for, and by when.

Then split the subject into modules or study sections, so you know roughly how much time you need to spend on each area.

You can use our handy revision planner, found here, to get you started.

Lewis Mason shares his tips for pratical exam preparation


So you have your plan - now for action.

  • Revise at a desk. 
    Do not try to study in bed, on the floor or in front of the TV. Your subconscious associates these places with relaxing. It is important to find a quiet place where you can set yourself up, away from any distractions, and focus. 

  • Take regular breaks. 
    You are not a robot. Set a timer to remind you to reward yourself every hour with a fifteen or twenty minute break.

  • Eat and drink.
    Your break is the perfect time to refuel your brain. We don't mean reward yourself with sweets and crisps - stocking up on the right foods and water will help you concentrate for longer and store those vital quotes for English Lit. 
    Have a look at our favourite exam snacks further down this page.

  • Do not panic.
    Stick to the revision plan, even if you don't feel like you've got far enough with that one topic which is taking a particularly long time to go in. 
    You can always re-visit your revision plan and add extra study slots for that hard module.

  • Meditate.
    You do not have to sit cross-legged with your eyes shut and hum - but when you close the textbooks for the day take ten minutes to stretch, sit in a different location and position, and focus on the sounds around you. Taking a few minutes to bring your mind back into the room and out of the text book will help you shut off for the night and rest.
    Try downloading a free mindfulness app on your phone to remind you to take ten minutes.

  • And.. rest.
    Get a good night's sleep. It is recommended the body needs 7.5 to 9 hours sleep a night to function properly. 
    Set an alarm and stick to it - in the morning enjoy breakfast and get dressed just like you would if you were heading to school or college to study. 

 Dealing with stress and illness

Half of teachers asked say they've dealt with pupils who self harm.

Around 40% have worked with students who have eating disorders.

20% say they've dealt with suicidal pupils.

Susan McGrath, from Healthcare on Demand in Guildford, is an expert in dealing with stress:

Stats: The Association of Teachers and Lecturers

Battling bugs during exams.

Alexandra Clements, who went to school in Haslemere, suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Glandular Fever during her A Levels.

She told us how she dealt with getting through her studies:



Exam concerns account for over 50% of counselling.

In 2014-15 ChildLine carried out 3,772 counselling sessions with young people who had concerns about their exams.

55% were with young people who were stressed about their forthcoming exams.

25% were with those who had completed their exams and were concerned about the results they would achieve.

Rosanne Pearson, a Senior Supervisor at Childline, tells us more:

What to eat

Nutritional Therapist Pippa Mitchell, from Eat Well Nutrition in Surrey, says empty calorie foods can lead to a 'crash' while revising.

Her top tips to stay focused through the difficult period are keeping hydrated and eating healthy snacks during revision sessions.

Pippa's got the recipe for the perfect exam day smoothie if your nerves are stopping you stomaching a hearty breakfast.

Find it on our 'exam day' page.

Remember, you're not alone