Tips to Keep Calm During your Exam

Written by: UPSU Advice

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It is perfectly normal to feel anxious on the day of your exam, but it is important to keep as calm as possible once you are in the exam room so that you can think clearly and perform to the best of your ability.

Here are our top tips to manage your stress and get through your exam on the day...

1. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and starting to panic, sit back and take a moment; close your eyes and take a deep breath. It is better to take a few seconds or even minutes to calm yourself down than to push forward when you are stressed and not thinking clearly. 

2. Remember to keep positive. If you find yourself in a position where you don't know the answer to a question, do not panic. Instead, try to keep a positive mindset and focus on the knowledge you do have by moving forward and answering the questions you do know the answer to. You can always revisit the questions you skipped if you have enough time after you have answered the ones you are confident with. 

3. Once you open the exam paper and can see the layout, take a moment to think about your strategy and the approach you want to take with the time you have. Some students may work best by answering the easier questions first to warm up and others may prefer to tackle the harder questions first that are worth more marks. It would be best to practice your approach with mock papers before the exam if you can so you know what works for you.

4. It may sound obvious, but read each question carefully. Reading in a rush could mean you misunderstand a question or miss key information. Try reading the question three times over and underlining key words to ensure you fully understand what you are answering before you begin.

5. Annotate your paper or ask for a seperate piece of paper to make notes on if you are allowed. Jotting down notes as you think of things can help you to not forget anything later on when it comes to answering a more detailed question. You may think you will remember, but it is easy to forget things when under pressure. 

6. Stay focussed on you, not what others are doing around you. Everyone will approach their own exam slighly differently, and it may appear someone else is flying through the exam paper whilst you are focusing on the first section, however, that person may be going through the paper answering the easy questions and returning to pages that perhaps they are finding more of a challenge. Remember your strategy and do what works best for you; being distracted by what others are doing will only waste time.

7. It can be disheartening when you have attended your lectures and studied hard but the exam itself is not going as you had hoped. Remember that some students struggle with exams more than others do. You can only do your best and you should be proud of yourself for your achievements so far.

8. Remember, it will be over soon and no matter what the outcome is, you will be ok. We understand exams are important, but nothing is more important than your wellbeing. 

We wish all University of Plymouth students the very best of luck with their exams this winter. If you need advice or support leading up to your exam, our UPSU Advice team are available to help you with whatever issue or question you have, between 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Visit: or email

Please remember to check out University of Plymouth's exam rules and regulations page which contains important information you'll need to know about their policies, rules and regulations during your exams. 


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