Psychologist shares top tips for dealing with exam stress and anxieties

Education Correspondent Peter Bearne interviews Dr Victoria Lewis Co-chair of the Division of Educational and Child Psychology at the British Psychological Society

May is the time of year when academic studies start to draw to an end, meaning exam season begins.

For a lot of people, with exam season comes stress and anxiety.

In an interview with ITV News Central, Dr Victoria Lewis from the British Psychological Society has shared her advice on how to deal with these feelings.

Dr Lewis gives her top tips of how to best deal with this stress:

  • Perspective

It's key to get things into perspective when it comes to exams.

Anxiety is normal for all of us at some point in time we are going to feel more anxious and it can actually be quite a helpful element for us in our lives because it prompts us to be able to carry out duties and get things done.

  • Revision

Everyone will have their own individual strategies that will fit them.

Some might feel that it is helpful to work in a group, but for some it will help to be on their own and work individually.

Try not to cram too much into one day, splitting things up into different days can really help you and can sometimes be healthier.

One of the problems with round the clock cramming is people begin to not take care of themselves and it causes affects on their sleeping patterns.


Make sure to take care of yourself when you are working because we are still coming out of a pandemic so it is important to remember that.

  • Down time

There is a huge importance in having time out.

In order to relax and do things that are actually fun.

That might be revision but you might also need to look at your resilience through social opportunities. If you have a dog, take it for a walk.

Make sure you are taking part in physical activity and exercise to make sure you are as strong as you can be.

Your body and your mind are tied together.

Make sure to take breaks eat well, sleep well and make sure to keep exercising.

  • Be self aware

Don't feel like you have to deal with things on your own.

Identify who you can talk to about something, if you don't have family or friends you can talk to there are online facilities that you can use.

Look at your educational provider. Talk to someone at your school, university of college that you trust to be able to process what is needed.

  • During the exam

Prepare a strategy ready to help deal with stress during the exam itself

This can include mindfulness techniques which can help calm and distract your mind.

If necessary seek support and get help

  • As a parent / carer

Your role as a parent or carer is really important when a child is going through exams.

A large amount of young people express their worries about fulfilling family expectations when they do exams.

Try to respond effectively and recognise the different between support and pressure.

Everyone wants their child to do best in an exam, but it is about being containing.

Don't cause additional fear to the children.

Help the young person feel safe and know they will be supported whatever the account.

Remind them that life's successes are rarely on a straight trajectory. We often have twists and turns unexpectedly and we have to do things slightly different.

Make sure to also support them through little pleasures, like a nice meal.

Accept and respect that different people have ways of revising, and even if you would not revise that way your child might learn in a different way to you.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

  • Papyrus offer support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am – midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to