Exam Stress: Top 17 Steps To Scoring A* For Your IGCSE / A Level Exam

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Exam Stress: How Does It Affect You?

Exam stress relief strategies are important because exams are part of the formal education & also a source of stress for many of us.

This will then affect how we perform on the exam date.

The better we manage the stress level, chances are we will also be performing better in exams.

Here are some top 17 exam stress relief steps we have gathered for your reference especially when IGCSE exams are approaching near.


#1 Keep It In Perspective

Look, you including everyone of your friends are facing the same situation.

It all depends on how well you can manage your problem (e.g. stress) that differentiate you and your peers.

Having said that, we are not suggesting you to compare yourself with your friends.

But rather how you think (your mind), is all about yourself.

It is very normal for most of us to stressed out during exam period. If it is very normal, take it easy!


#2 Smile

Try smiling.

Don’t believe me?

This will immediate change your mood.

Our mood and body language are closely linked.

It makes senses to smile on purpose to help ourselves.

Do you know that smiling relaxes our facial muscles and calms the nervous system?

These chemicals help us feel positive in turns lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost mood.


#3 Listen To Music

Listening to music can create a productive and positive environment by elevating our mood.

This can directly encourage us to study longer with higher effectiveness.

Classical music is recommended as the it helps to boost and stimulate your brain power.

You may consider this free option by opening YouTube and type “classical music for study” or similar.

Ambient music can possibly work too but not for everyone.

You have to try to check what works best for you.


#4 Remember To Breath

Close your eyes, take a large breath slowly, pause, and exhale slowly.

Repeat the process 3 to 4 times.

Doing this not only can help your body to relax but also increases the oxygen flow to the brain.

The trick is, breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Whether you are doing your IGCSE revision, or exams, this method is a quick fix.

Personally, this works well for me.


#5 Do A Quick Walk

Many students feel that they should spend their entire time with their IGCSE books before the exams.

Even the most intense exam timetables will allow a little time for a break.

Research have proven that exercising such as taking a quick walk can help improve your memory and brain power.

Spending a little time away (maybe 10 to 20 minutes) from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed for the next round of revision.

The concept is similar when it comes to body fitness. Can you keep pushing yourself without taking a short break?

Well yes you can, but you may possibly end up injured yourself.


#6 Drink Water

Not drinking enough water can make you feel stressed and sluggish.

Set a target to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.

You may consider to place a medium-sized water bottle beside your study table.

What about drinking coffee?

Coffee contains caffeine and it may make you feel anxious.

You can have coffee but it is advisable not to go overboard.

It is recommended a maximum 400mg caffeine per day for adults.

Teenagers or younger may limit themselves to 100mg per day.


#7 Prepare A Study Plan

Your stress may arise partly because you did not prepare a study plan.

Exam stress relief can be achieved by investing some time to prepare a study plan.

These study plans can be used as a guide for your own time management and motivation.

For example you may set a target to revise 2 to 3 chapters everyday instead of 10 chapters for a subject.

This may include selecting which subject to study first.

Studying last minute may work but only in the short term.

Creating a study plan works for everyone especially for slow learners.


#8 Speak To Someone

If the stress level gets to a point where it became overwhelming, try speaking to someone about it.

In most cases, these happened because we are holding the pressure and not releasing them.

Speak to your parents, friends or teachers can be a good tips for exam stress relief.

They will be happy to speak to you and possibly share their own experience.

You’ll be amazed to know that you are not alone.


#9 Check Your Environment

It may be necessary for you to roughly get the idea of how your IGCSE exam venue look like.

In some rare cases, students will get panic once they step into the exam hall as they are not familiar with the place.

This mostly apply for those who register their exams as private candidates or their school or home tuition are not the exam centre.

Secondly, you may consider to visualise yourself in the exam hall while you are halfway doing your revision.

There is a phenomenon in psychology called context-dependent memory.

It refers to the idea that we are best able to remember what we learn in an environment similar to when the information was encoded.


#10 Treat Yourself

Reward yourself with some pizza or burger or sushi or get yourself a new shirt can be a good way for exam stress relief.

Anything that makes you happy for a moment.

Exams can be stressful, relax yourself a bit with something you enjoy and start revision again.

People have the misconception that self-reward only happens after the exams.

This is clearly untrue.


#11 Quit The Bad Habits

In case if you are smoking (I hope not), quit smoking.

This applies the same with alcohol consumptions.

Cigarettes and alcohol never stopped anyone being stressed for very long.

It will be worsen once we are dependent on them over the long run.

I would rather spend that money to invest on quality food and travel experience.

Exam stress relief can be automatically achieved by quiting such habits.


#12 Cut Down On Commitments

Decide on the importance and urgency of certain matters in life.

This helps reduce your to-do items, giving you more time to relax and take care of yourself.

Some friends may invite us for a party.

It is OK to say NO.

Worried of been said to be antisocial?

This does not mean we are antisocial but merely a person that knows how to prioritise.

Here is a good article to read about why saying no is important for a healthy life.


#13 Be On Time

Get to your exam venue earlier (maybe 2 hours earlier).

Getting late for the exam will probably set your anxiety level to the roof even before you start the exams.

Do everything you can to arrive early before the exam starts.

You can also avoid the risks of traffic jams and provide some stress relief for yourself.


#14 Preparing Your Stationeries

It is recommended to prepare them probably in a transparent plastic bags.

For IGCSE exams, students are only allowed transparent casing or bags.

Place all the necessary stationery (including your calculator) at one place.

With this, you will not most likely not forget any important stationeries.

If possible, do not use them for your revision in case if you forgot to place them back.


#15 Go For Extra Classes

Apart from the regular school lessons, it may be necessary to go for extra classes to help build your confidence.

There are times that extra classes may provide you with better results.

Depending on the experience of the teachers, it can help to guide and motivate the students with better methods.

Visit our IGCSE / A-Levels Tuition Page to learn more about our Cambridge IGCSE / O Level and A Level tuition classes.

We also have tuition for ACCA, CIMA, Diploma and Degree courses.


#16 Stay Positive

Keep telling yourself that “I will fail this exam” will not solve the problem.

Believe it or not, by doing so you are increasing the chance of failing from happening!

Remember that there are both sides in every situation.

Instead of focusing only on the negative, look at the positive side of things.

Think about the things in school and life you are grateful for and expressing gratitude to others.

This can directly or indirectly help reduce your level of stress in exams.


#17 Take a Shower

Hot showers can help stress relief by soothing your stiff muscles.

Allow the hot water work like a mini-massage on your neck, shoulders and back.

Studies have shown that taking hot shower can improve your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety.


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Iesha

    Very valuable tips. I will surely share with my students!

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