Skip to content The Open University

Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
  1. Home
  2. Revising and examinations
  3. Managing stress
  4. Coping with exam stress

Coping with exam stress


While revising, focus on the one topic you're revising now, not on what else you still have to cover. If you get stuck on a topic, leave it and come back when you're fresh. Ask for help from students or your tutor or study adviser if you need it.

Have a clear idea of how you are going to spend the time immediately before the exam, and include activities that help you to keep things in perspective. It may be worth thinking about something you achieved that meant a lot to you. It will help you acknowledge that the exam is not the only important thing - and is well within your capabilities.

"I realised that talking to other students before the exam wound me up, so now I just listen to music while waiting for the exam hall to open."

If stress affects you, try to find ways to maintain a positive attitude and cultivate a positive approach during your revision. You could

  • keep fit by taking some exercise you enjoy
  • relax, perhaps by sitting quietly or meditating
  • eat well, but healthily
  • get sufficient sleep
  • take some planned time away from study, rather than feel you're avoiding revision
  • be pleased with your achievements as you revise
  • reward yourself with an occasional treat.
"If I begin to panic during the exam, I say to myself STOP and then sit back and take several deep breaths to try to relax a little. I know the invigilator will help me if I get really stressed."

Relaxation exercises are an effective way of managing anxiety and stress. Listen to this relaxation audio when you are at home or in a comfortable and safe place.