Joe’s Jotter: How to Stress Bust any Exam

For any exam you do between now and June, you need to give it your full attention, remembering also that you can only do your best. Students that are good with timing and focus can pick up way more marks than they expect in tests; so these are skills you should work on. For upcoming class tests, I would advise you to focus on core areas. In other words, don’t try to take on full sections of the course. Ask the teacher for guidance on revision prior to any exam. Write down and know keywords for each topic well. This will reduce stress levels and help you maintain confidence.

At any stage of the year, Increased exam discussion may cause you to feel more anxious or pressurised. You need to have some strategies ready, to help you cope with feeling overwhelmed. Below are some useful techniques and pointers, to keep stress at bay, at any stage during the year.

  1. Believe in You

Before you sit an exams, you need to instill some belief in yourself. You can begin this process by making some simple changes, like the way you speak for starters. For example: Instead of saying “I don’t think I can do this”, use language like “What do I have to do to achieve this?”. Instead of “I’m not good at this”, use “I can get good at this through practice” and instead of “I can’t do this topic, it’s too hard”, use “What do I have to do to get better at this topic?” This positive can-do language reflects your potential to achieve great things. Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life, Positive Results. After all the classes you have sat through, without even realising it, you have learned so much from your teachers. Never doubt yourself. Take each day of the exams as they come, focusing on the next upcoming exam.

“Tired of trying to cram her sparkly star-shaped self into society’s square holes,
she chose to embrace her ridiculous awesomeness and shine like the supernova she is”


  1. Take Action

If there is course material you are having difficulty with; getting stressed won’t help. Instead, I would encourage you to speak to your teacher after class about pointers or extra notes or websites that might help. Asking classmates for their opinion or approach to a specific topic often helps also. They may have a great idea that you never even considered. Setting short term goals and acting on them is a great way of taking pressure off. Ticking off the most important items on a list and working your way downwards can work wonders. Always note down what you have done at the end of the day, not the work you didn’t complete. Taking action will help you feel way better than not doing so. Keep making decisions to order to progress forward. Every day is a new day.

  1. Keep in Touch with Friends

Confiding in someone you trust and support is a great way to help reduce stress and worry. Talking to a friend, relative or parent about study worries can greatly lighten the load. Often what seems like an overwhelming problem can be manageable when you talk it through with someone else. Your classmates are in the same boat as you and know how you are feeling; so you should help each other get through any issues. Support your friends and the sentiment is sure to be returned. Meeting up with friends who are not doing exams can also help to take your mind off things too. Stay positive, talk, express yourself and keep in touch with those who are important to you.

  1. Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself

It is important to understand that in any situation you can only do your best. Try not to be too hard on yourself or compare yourself to your classmates. Ask yourself questions like… Why do I need this grade? Do I need a minimum grade to get into a course? Am I just putting unnecessary pressure on myself? Or am I doing this for my parents?

Be kind to yourself during this testing time, remembering that exams will not determine the rest of your life and most adults have changed career path two or three times on average. There are so many different avenues you can follow now, unlike years ago, when there was only one direct route into a career. Do some research to see if there are other indirect ways into your chosen field and inevitably, there will be. The name of the game is to have a few options at your disposal in order to keep the stress levels down.

Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere

Erma Bombeck

The best stress busting advice I can give you is to listen carefully in class, do your homework to the best of your ability, have fun with your friends and keep up that leisure activity you enjoy doing. The combination of keeping these four balls in the air, along with my techniques above, will help you build resilience for any upcoming class tests or your final exam. Just keep showing up is all you can do!!


More details about Joe’s Maths Tuition Classes 2023 for 5th & 6th Year (Leaving Certificate Higher Students) and his Award Winning ACE Maths Solution Books can be found via the below:

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