Exam Stress

A Question & Answer Session About Exams and Stress

The following is a question and answer about exam stress. I received this message from a website user who is going through a stressful exam period:

Hi Piers,

Basically, I've been struggling with something at the moment and I wondered if you could offer some advice or insight into how to deal with it better and maybe relax a bit more about it all!

I've been giving myself a really hard time for things which I think I could do better, or things which I meant to do but never got round to doing, and I know that that's not always a good thing because it means that you always focus on the negative. However, I'm finding it hard to accept those negative things, move on, and turn my mind to making positive changes to my life.

For example, it's been difficult for me to feel like I have done enough work and revision for my exams, and I'm also feeling bad for not being able to give my friends enough time because I'm so busy with work...which means I keep focusing on all these negative things and I can't think positively about doing the revision and taking my exams.

If you could help at all with any of this then that would be amazing. Exams are so stressful, but I think this is something we do to ourselves all throughout our lives. It's hard to move on from things which you feel negatively about.

As always, a massive thank you for your videos, they truly are wonderful.


Hi Y,

Thanks for the message.

Exams and exam stress can be a challenging time - I remember when I was at school and at university that I found this time of year to be especially stressful.

I was just reading something I wrote last year which is on a course I have produced. I was saying that usually we are the biggest tyrants in our lives when it comes to stress and giving ourselves a hard time.

What I pointed out was that the first step is recognizing this. That is step one.

Step two is to write down these negative internal dialogues as they come up in your head eg. you're stressed and you keep telling yourself, "I can't do this, or, "I haven't done enough revision..."

Write them down on a piece of paper. As you go through the day, and when you experience exam stress different negative sayings will come up which are completely unique to you.

Once you have a list and don't do this for long - a day or a few hours is fine, change the dialogue from negative to positive.

So "I can't cope" becomes "I am doing just fine or I am coping magnificently well."

"I haven't done enough revision," becomes "I have done just the right amount of revision to make me succeed."

Step three is to keep this piece of paper near to you as you study and when the negative dialogue comes up read the corresponding positive affirmation and really feel it deep within you. Breathe deeply, smile and feel good.

This is just one technique but you will find many more on my website www.Stress-Relief-Choices.com Look up articles on stress and you will find articles about sleeping aids, techniques etc. There's lots of information there.

Sounds like you are doing really well - your job now is just to start to see how well you are really doing.

Focus on and be grateful for all that you have - the eyes to read this, the mouth to breathe, the heart to be alive...

Well done... well done,

May you be well,

Piers Cross

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