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Session 1

Are you working towards an important exam? We're here to help with a series of videos that pick out some top tips for studying and taking exams.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Exam skills: 6 tips for dealing with study stress

Take a deep breath!

Preparing for and taking exams is for many, a stressful time. You can't think straight and are daunted by the amount you have to learn. But things are probably not as bad as they seem.

Watch this video to find out six top tips to help you deal with the stress of studying and taking exams. Then test your understanding in our quiz.

[Images: Getty Images]

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Preparing for and taking exams is for many, a stressful time. You can't think straight and are daunted by the amount you have to learn. But things are probably not as bad as they seem…  take a deep breath and listen to our suggestions for dealing with exam stress….

Firstly, think about what exactly is stressing you out? It might be just one thing that you can put right – maybe it's just vocabulary that's worrying you, so pay more attention to revising that.  It could be just lack of sleep that's stopping you from concentrating.

Next, learn to recognise when you're getting stressed. Take a break and talk to someone who will understand your situation – a friend, teacher or maybe your parents. Talking to someone is a great way to help you see straight.

Although working with fellow students has its benefits, don't compare your abilities with theirs. Everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds. If you're sure you've got the right revision strategy then you'll be ok. If not, get advice.

And when you've been stuck behind your desk, stressing out, go and do some exercise. Nothing de-stresses the mind faster than physical activity, so make it part of your studying timetable.  Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up.

And be honest with yourself. Are you setting yourself difficult goals? Be realistic – how much more revising can you do, how much more can you remember? If you're happy you've worked hard enough and you've done your best, then don't be hard on yourself. Once you're in the exam, keep calm, getting into a panic will not help you think straight.

Also, you need to look after yourself. By avoiding drinking coffee or smoking, and drinking lots of water, you will feel better. Eat slow-release foods like bread, rice, pasta, fruit and veg – and above all sleep well – this will help you rest and recharge your brain. Finally, let's hear from examiner Mark Shea about stress sometimes being a good thing…

Mark Shea, examiner
Everybody feels stress, adrenalin can help you. You will pass if you’ve done the work. And if you don’t pass, it’s not the end of the world.

So a little bit of stress can motivate us to get on with our work but there is life after exams. Things might seem intense for a while, but it won't last forever. Good luck!


Did you like that? Why not try these?

exam skills 27 thumbnail News Review  The White Elephant ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here's a summary of our tips about dealing with study stress:

  1. Identify what's worrying you
  2. Talk to someone
  3. Don't compare
  4. Get active
  5. Be realistic
  6. Look after yourself

To do

So what did you discover? Find out by taking our test…

How can you manage your study stress?

4 Questions

Answer these 4 questions

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
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Exam stress: This is a BBC revision guide for the anxious.

Further information about exam stress from the BBC.

Here's a general guide from the BBC about managing stress.

Why not check out the rest of our Exam Skills series on our You Tube channel.

Have you got any tips about learning strategies and exam preparation that you can share with us? Please email them to us at learningenglish@bbc.co.uk with 'Exam Skills' in the subject line. We will post our favourites here and on our Facebook page. Please note that we can’t reply to individual emails, but we do read all of them.

End of Session 1

Next, join us for News Review, where we'll bring you key words and phrases from the latest stories and show you how to use it in your everyday English.

Session Vocabulary

  • strategy
    plan for achieving something

    perk you up
    become more lively/energetic

    able to accept things as they really are; not based on false hopes

    a chemical produced in your body that makes your heart beat faster and gives you more energy when you are frightened, excited, or angry