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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service




Exam Stress

Anxiety and stress is the body’s response to a situation it perceives as dangerous.

Most students will experience some degree of anxiety about exams - this is perfectly normal.  It’s important to keep on top of exam anxiety and the best way of doing this is to understand it and be organised!

How anxiety can affect our body

Symptoms of anxiety

Am I normal?  What goes wrong?

How we think affects everything we feel and do, therefore if you have ‘bad’ or ‘worrying’ thoughts, you are not going to feel good.

You are normal if you feel physically bad when you are anxious, it’s the way we think that needs to change.  

Anxiety triggers the physical symptoms in your body that results in the symptoms above.  Nothing is going wrong and these symptoms will pass when you are able to manage your anxious thoughts.

The Anxiety Cycle


The good news!

You can learn to manage anxiety and negative thinking, remember, you are not unusual - many people experience these symptoms.

Ways to manage anxiety levels

Physical activity and exercise

Physical activity and exercise will help manage your anxiety levels - this will use up the adrenaline for the purpose it is intended and can help to reduce some of the unpleasant physical effects associated with stress.  Ensure that you build some moderate exercise time into your revision time-table to boost your energy and clear your mind.

Relaxation techniques

The following will help you feel calm and balanced and improve your concentration levels, which in turn will help you sleep better:

Notice how your whole body feels relaxed.

Other ways to relax and look after yourself

Practice Breathing

Positive Thinking

Challenge your negative thoughts - for example:

Negative thought - I hate exams, they make me feel anxious and I won’t get my grades.

Positive thought - I know I can do this, I am in control.  It’s only adrenaline making me feel like this, if I ignore it, it will pass

Action - I’ll do my relaxation and breathing which will help to calm me

Decision - I won’t let these anxious feelings win, they will pass, they have before and will again, I have done this before without feeling like this

Positive statement - I will do the best I can, I have prepared well and got a decent grade in my mocks

General Hints

On the big day ………..

Good luck!!

Useful Websites:

CALL - Community Advice & Listening Line

Mental health helpline for Wales offering a confidential listening and support service.

Helpline: 0800 132 737   Open 24/7