May 30, 2022, by UoN School of English

How to survive exam stress

We all know that handful of people who breeze through revision and coursework deadlines. But for most of us, getting through exams, coursework, and group projects can be exceptionally stressful. Below, I have put together my top four tips for coping with and conquering exam stress!


Finding the perfect place to work is the most difficult part of this process in my opinion. It often goes unnoticed that the environment we are in when we work immensely impacts our productivity. No one place will be perfect for everyone! A friend of mine finds that she is most productive sat on the narrow staircase of her house which is the polar opposite to where I am most productive: a really quiet and bright library. Be it a busy café, on the floor of your room, sat on a bench in the Downs, or in one of UoN’s libraries, a good place to work is the first step in coping with exam stress and being productive.


It is so tempting to procrastinate and to leave all your work to the last minute especially when the sun is shining and work is the last thing you want to do. My biggest tip is that organising your time, creating a work schedule, and keeping on top of lectures and extra readings from the very start of the academic year will immensely reduce exam stress. I know organisation does not come naturally to everyone, but even making small to-do lists or using a planner can make such a big difference. You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel when you get to the exam period if you have an organised work routine!


Taking breaks in between study sessions is crucial to good productivity  and long-lasting focus. You could go for a walk for fresh air, make a quick snack or cup of coffee, stretch your muscles or chat to friends.

The Pomodoro technique is very popular and efficient! Set an alarm for 25 minutes, start working, and then rest for 5 minutes. You can repeat this process 4-6 times and then have a longer break or even grab some food.

After you feel you have done enough work for the day then a good way to stay motivated to continue studying tomorrow is to reward yourself. You could binge-watch your favourite TV show, go to the gym, nap, get your favourite sweet snack, or go out for a drink with friends. Giving yourself time to relax and enjoy your time will keep yourself motivated and feeling positive about your next study session!


When I’m feeling most stressed, my instinct is to keep it inside and not tell anyone—I don’t want people to know that I am struggling. But reaching out to family or friends about how overwhelmed I felt, how I thought I was going to fail or not get the work done in time was so helpful. Even just explaining how you feel or what you’re actually stressed about to someone can be incredibly relieving and clears your mind.

UoN has a great support system in place for students who are struggling with exam stress ( ) with access to wellbeing apps and services such as Togetherall, which I used. This is a 24-hour service where you can post your thoughts and feelings anonymously on their website, write in a personal online journal, keep goals and a tracker for them, read and understand your feelings and how to deal with them, and post on their clinically managed message walls and receive advice.

These are only four ways to help survive exam stress, but try and find what works best for you. Remember that what your friends do may be the opposite of what you need. Good luck!

Venetia Laczko-Schroeder

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Posted in Student WordsTips/Advice/Guidance