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Mr Chen's anecdotes.

Overcoming Exam Anxiety

My students sometimes tell me that they experience overwhelming exam anxiety. As an educator, I try my best to support them to the best of my abilities, but ultimately, my students are the ones who will walk into the exam hall.

Me sitting inside my students' heads Inside Out style - You can do it!

Feeling anxious before an exam or assessment is normal. The pressure to perform well can sometimes lead to feelings of stress and worry. Excessive anxiety can hinder your ability to focus, recall information, and perform at your best.

The good news? There are strategies that you can use to manage exam anxiety. In this post, we will explore practical tips and techniques to help you overcome exam anxiety and perform your best during exams.

What is exam anxiety?

Exam anxiety is a common experience characterised by feelings of nervousness, tension, and fear before or during an exam. You may experience racing thoughts, sweating, trembling, and difficulty concentrating. While some levels of anxiety can be motivating, excessive anxiety can interfere with your ability to demonstrate your true capabilities during exams.

Therefore, it is extremely important to do your best to mitigate the odds of being affected by exam anxiety. Here are some tips that may help you better manage your exam anxiety.

Tip 1: Be thoroughly prepared

I often tell my students to start preparation early. It never hurts to have extra time on your hands.

time management during exams

Start studying well in advance of the exam date to avoid last minute cramming. That way, you get ample time to break down your revision materials into manageable chunks and to seek help from your teachers or tutors if needed.

Starting your exam preparation early will also give you sufficient time to review your materials consistently over time to reinforce your learning. Believe it or not, this is a great confidence booster!

If you are looking for suitable papers to try, check out my content on Prelim Paper Review.

(more reviews can be found on my TikTok)

Tip 2: Simulate exam conditions

While you revise, try incorporating elements of actual exam conditions. For example, when doing a full practice paper, try imitating exam conditions by being in a quiet classroom and setting time limits. Learning how to manage your time while doing paper is also important. Allocate reasonable amounts of time for each question and move on when you need to.

Other exam techniques you should exercise include mastering proper answering techniques. Make it a habit to answer as you would during an exam, and read the instructions carefully. Doing specimen papers can be helpful too to familiarise yourself with the exam format too.

Extra tip: just Google "SEAB Specimen Paper _____ (the subject you want)"

Tip 3: Establish healthy routines

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for managing stress and anxiety levels too. During exam season, healthy routines tend to go out of the window. We may grab convenient meals to save time or forgo exercise, or even stay up late till 4am just to complete an extra paper or two.

Keeping to a healthy routine even during crunch time helps keep you in tip-top condition. After all, you wouldn't want to fall sick during exam season! When possible, take some time off from revision. Spend time with your family and friends, or engage in hobbies that you enjoy.

Tip 4: Seek support

If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out for support. Talk to your teachers, school counsellors, or trusted friends and family members.

They can offer encouragement and guidance, and they can provide a listening ear to help you navigate the challenges of exam season. Remember that you are not alone! There are people who care about your well-being and want to help you succeed.

When revising, you may also come across concepts that you struggle with. Reach out to your teachers or tutors early to help you grasp these concepts early. I've met students who did not clarify certain concepts early and regret later on. No questions are redundant- it's better to look for help than assuming that you understand the concept.

Tip 5: Last but not least, celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small they are

Reward yourself for your efforts and accomplishments. Be it after mastering a difficult concept, completing a study session, or receiving an improved grade on a practice test.

Positive reinforcement can help boost your motivation, confidence, and overall well-being, helping you feel more confident and prepared for exams.


Exam anxiety is a challenge faced by many students, but it does not have to control your performance. By implementing the above tips and techniques, you can effectively manage your anxiety and perform your best during exams.

Remember that you are capable and prepared, and with perseverance and determination, you can conquer exam anxiety and achieve your desired academic goals.

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