Blog | Beat exam stress with SAMH

Blog | Beat exam stress with SAMH

Exam season can be really stressful. So we are delighted that Scotland’s mental health charity SAMH has come up with some brilliant tips as part of their Testing Times campaign to help you beat exam stress and look after your wellbeing during this anxious time.

How and where you work

Think about the time of the day that you feel most alert and the place that makes you focus and where you feel calm. Why not alternate your work space to keep revision fresh and to avoid boredom?

Have an early night’s sleep

Revising late at night can make it very hard for you to get up for the actual exam. Ensure you have done some revision before dinner and stop revising one hour before you go to sleep, so that you have a chance to switch off.

Try not to compare

Avoid comparing your knowledge with friends before or after the exam. Just because they appear to know more, does not mean that they actually do, or that they will do better in the exam. Comparing will only make you or your friends worry more about things you can’t change

Eat well

A quick fast food fix may look tempting when you are up late revising. However, your body and brain need proper fuel for revision. Eat fresh fruit and veg, swap chocolate snacks for high protein nuts, and try not to consume too much caffeine to ensure good quality sleep.

Treat yourself

Make sure you plan in revision breaks to rest your brain. Treat yourself with something you enjoy; go for a walk or watch 20 minutes of your favourite TV show. It will motivate you to concentrate on your revision.


It can seem like you don’t have the time to exercise when you are revising, but it actually makes you more productive afterwards. It helps you to de-stress and releases feel-good endorphins. Try walking, going to the gym, or for a jog.

Recognise stress signals

If you are feeling stressed, take a break and talk to someone. If you feel yourself starting to panic, stop what you’re doing and try a breathing technique; breathing slowly and deeply. Do this for a few minutes until you begin to feel calmer.

Remember, you have worked hard and you can’t change anything after you have sat the exam. 

Yes, it is great to do well in exams, but exams aren’t the only thing that will help you succeed in life, equally important factors include your attitude, work ethic or ability to communicate well.

Find out more

For more about the Testing Times campaign and how to look after your mental health, head to the SAMH website.