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Exams

Exams

An image of school pupils sitting an exam in a school hall

Exams can help you take the next step in your education, but it’s important to remember that success looks different for everyone.

Exams do not define who you are.

However, for lots of pupils they are something that has to be done at school. So we have pulled together some information to help with each stage of sitting exams.

Here are some revision tips:

✔️ Don’t over do it. Exams can feel like they’re taking over your life, but try to set time limits with how much revision you do.

✔️ Everyone revises differently. Don’t worry if you’re doing it differently to anyone else, find what works best for you.

✔️ Make a timetable. You can do this to set out which subjects you’re going to revise and when. Share a copy with a friend or family member so they can help you keep on track. Don’t leave it to the night before.

✔️ Take breaks. Go for a walk, have a snack or get up and stretch.

✔️ Eat healthy food. In the run up to your exams eating well and keeping hydrated can help you keep going and is good for your brain. Drinking lots of water can also help make sure you don’t get headaches.

✔️ Get enough sleep. You should aim for between six and eight hours a night.
You can read more advice here about the importance of sleep.

✔️ Mix it up! It’s important to still do things that aren’t just revision. You could combine the two by revising with friends, or else take a break and do something you enjoy.

Exam stress

Revising for and sitting exams can feel like a really stressful time. If you’re finding yourself worrying, becoming irritable, not sleeping well or feeling low, then the stress of exams may be getting to you.

It’s important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. It could be a family member, friend or an adult from school but don’t struggle on alone. You may need some additional help to get you back on track and that is completely ok – you are not alone.

10 tips for sitting exams

  1. Organise yourself the night before each exam. Make sure you have all your equipment and your water bottle ready. It will be one less thing to think about on the morning of your exam.
  2. Have a healthy breakfast – your brain needs the energy.
  3. Take a bottle of water into the exam room – there’s scientific evidence that it helps you focus and stops headaches
  4. When you’re waiting to go into the exam room, avoid chats with other pupils about what you know (or don’t know) – it will just stress you out. Take some deep breaths if you’re feeling anxious.
  5. When you open the exam paper, read all the questions before you start.
  6. Answer the questions you think look easier first. Leave the hardest ones until last.
  7. Keep an eye on the clock so you know how much time you’ve got left.
  8. Read over your paper before you hand it in to double check you haven’t missed any marks.
  9. After the exam, try not to focus on it any more by sharing answers and talking about it loads with friends. It could make you feel more stressed about your next exam.
  10. Take some time to relax before returning to more revision.

Results

Waiting for your results can feel like an anxious time. There is nothing you can do to speed up (or slow down!) the time between exams and results, but there are a few things you can try to help you feel a bit better.

  • Talk about it. You may not be able to change how you did in your exam but you can talk to friends and family to help the outcome feel less overwhelming.

  • Try to stay occupied. Exercise, hobbies or try to catch up on sleep. Be kind to yourself and take some time to do some things you enjoy.

  • Make a plan for results day. It can help you to feel more prepared about the uncertainty. Think about the best way for you to get your results. Do you want to go with someone, or get them alone? They’re your results and it’s your choice.

Who else can help me?

An image with a transparent background and the Childline logo - the word 'Childline' in blue. Blue text below this reads 'Online, on the phone, anytime.

Remember, exam support is available to you. But if you’re struggling and feeling stressed, Childline has online 1-to-1 counselling and information to help. You can also call Childline on 0800 1111. If you are deaf you can use SignVideo.

If you need urgent help, you can text YM to 85258 to contact Young Minds. Young Minds also have good advice about coping with exam anxieties, like congratulating yourself, considering your options and not comparing yourself to others.

Young Scot also have information all about exam results to help you relax, to support your friends and to plan your next steps, whatever your results.

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