With exam season right around the corner, and student’s feeling of stress, anxiety and pressure becoming normalised is an issue we face throughout our academic life, and with social expectations, combined with personal academic expectations only compounds the emotions of stress and desire to perform well, however, stress is a natural response to such situations and can often boost a students performance and it allows students to perform well in high stress situations such as exams. Throughout this article, we will explain the primary cause of stress and boil it down to a few points as well as give students tips and tricks to de-escalate the stress levels and help them prepare mentally for upcoming exams.


Reasons for stress:

  1. Academic expectation from teachers, parents and family often contribute to stress, the overwhelming stress to succeed and meet everybody’s expectations, the need to prove to themselves to all these people.
  2. Lack of time: with the need to balance multiple subjects at once, with vast amounts of revision materials that need to be covered and the exams crowded into a relatively short period of time creates the fear of not having enough time to cover everything and prepare for every subject to the best of abilities.
  3. Importance: with the exam grades summing up knowledge of the students from years in education, they are vital for future prospects and can often majorly help with the students getting into desirable jobs, therefore performing well in these exams is something that is perceived as crucial for the students.


Effective revision techniques:

  1. Creating a schedule or a ‘revision timetable’ is often beneficial to ensure all subjects are studied in depth and equally, implementing and following such timetable also allows for students to feel better as they know that they’re putting in the studying hours which will help towards their later performance and readiness for exams.
  2. Active recall is a tried and tested study technique which consists of being able to think and recall knowledge without looking at your notes, this way students are able to exercise their memory and after answering a question or brainstorming their knowledge on a certain subject, they are able to compare what they remember to their notes, and look at what has been missed out, and creating areas of strength and weakness in subjects, which allows students to prioritise certain areas within revision.
  3. Taking breaks is often also beneficial, using techniques such as ‘pomodoro’ allows for blocking time and creating a study routine, for example setting a timber for 45 minutes of revision followed by 10 minutes of break, this can often make revision seem less daunting as the break is treated as a reward for the period of hard work.
  4. Eliminating distractions: ensuring that any possible distractions are eliminated or minimised helps massively with how effective revision can be, finding a quite study space, preparing all revision material necessary beforehand also helps. Turning off notifications and placing phones in a space out of reach often minimises distraction, as not only there’s no notifications coming through, but also due to it being out of reach the likelihood of reaching for it and getting lost in the never ending scrolling cycle is reduced significantly, due to a barrier being put up between the distractions and the student.


How Halesowen college is helping their students achieve more?

In Halesowen, students are assured regarding their exams, and support systems and practices are put in place to ensure no students feels alone and stuck with their upcoming exams, through putting funnels in place to direct students to the appropriate members to staff, to raising awareness and putting in place customised solutions made directly to the students. During tutorial sessions, personal coaches often discuss exams as well as provide revision advice, the sessions are interactive and ensure that no students are left at a disadvantage. However if the student feels like they’re still unsure about what steps to take, their personal tutor will direct them to a well being coach if the stresses of exams are taking a toll on the students mental health. We have interviewed students at Halesowen college to find out their opinions and feelings around exams as well as their opinion on the support provided from the college:


“My teachers always provide us with resources accessible online and are happy to go out of their way to ensure that all our questions regarding exams are answered and there are no more queries”.

Says Noel Foxall


"Yes, I feel greatly supported in my studies at Halesowen College. Whilst I am often anxious when in anticipation of an important exam or assessment, I feel as though my subject tutors support me in ways of calming myself and providing me with less stressful, yet efficient methods of revision."

 Says Bryan Caddick