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Preparing for exams

To help pupils beat exam stress and prepare so that they are ready physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for taking their exams.

by Tim and Vicky Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To help pupils beat exam stress and prepare so that they are ready physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for taking their exams.

Preparation and materials


  1. So, they’re coming – those exams are looming! Today, we’re going to think about how to keep sane and survive.
  2. Here are some tips – keep an eye on the mind map as we go through them.

    Student 1 Keep a balanced perspective on your exams. The world will keep spinning after you have finished them and the sun will still come up in the morning and go down in the evening!

    Student 2 Plan ahead and give yourself rewards. Create a study countdown – you may be able to find an app on your phone to do this. Work out how many days you have to study each subject to be ready to sit the exam. Why? This will help you to prioritise and will create a sense of urgency to propel you towards exam success! Have a ‘plan of attack’ for your revision.

    Student 3 Revise creatively – sing, draw, make use of all your senses!

    Student 4 Break down the exam content into manageable chunks, bite-size pieces. You can’t eat an elephant all at once! Create a plan and tackle a bit of it each day. Make sure you take regular breaks. Sometimes stepping away from revision for a short while and doing something else, such as going for a walk, can help you to clear your head and feel refreshed so you achieve more than if you’d kept at it for hours.

    Student 5 Do practice questions and try to explain the ideas and concepts you are revising to a friend. One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to write your own exam! As you are revising, write down questions that you think might make it on to the exam paper.

    Student 6 Look after your mind and body. Drink lots of water. You want to know one of the secrets of succeeding at exams? Sleeping! If you feel like you don’t know everything that you need to know and are completely out of your depth, one of the best things you can do is go to bed! Get a good night’s sleep – it is a natural way of relieving stress. Get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night, including the night before your exam. Eat healthily and make sure that you have a hearty breakfast! Drink lots of water. Don’t eat too many sugary foods or drink lots of energy drinks – although they may give you an initial boost, your energy levels will plummet pretty quickly after that. ‘Brain foods’ such as nuts and fruit can help.

    Student 7 In the words of the song, ‘Don’t worry, Be Happy!’ Try to stress less. Stress interferes with learning. Think positive – you can do it! Just do your best – that’s all you can do.

Time for reflection

Prepare spiritually for exams by praying before any revision session and the exams themselves. It may be just one word that you say to God – ‘help’! God cares about every aspect of our lives and wants you to succeed. Praying can bring you closer to God and make you feel a little stronger and relaxed going into testing times.

Remember – if you ever feel truly overwhelmed, you can discuss it with your teachers, friends or leaders who have all been in a similar position in their lives at some point. As the old saying goes and it is so true, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved.’  

Dear God,
help me to keep the right perspective on my exams
and not to panic and get overwhelmed, but trust in you.

Help me to plan and prepare well, to get good sleep and to eat healthily.


‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by George Gershwin

Publication date: May 2013   (Vol.15 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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