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How to beat revision stress

The revision season can seem never-ending – especially when you’re working tirelessly to achieve the grades you need to get into your university of choice. With so much pressure to do well and so much riding on those final exams, it’s no wonder some students find spring to be a time of stress.

However, this needn’t be the case. There’s no denying that exam revision can require hard work, dedication and perhaps a few late nights, but there are a few simple tricks to help avoid succumbing to the effects of stress - so you're more likely to perform well and achieve the grades you deserve. 

We’ve compiled a useful checklist to help you through the revision season – why not stick it up on your wall and make sure you take steps to keep yourself calm and in a positive frame of mind.

  • If you start to feel restless and as if you’re not getting much done, try changing your surroundings or activity
  • Concentrate on the present moment and the task at hand – don’t worry about what you haven’t done and what you still need to do, just focus on what you're doing right now 
  • Be realistic about what you can achieve and set achievable goals
  • Make a point of breaking larger tasks down into a series of smaller tasks to lessen the mental impact
  • Make a revision plan and stick to it, and remember to factor in time for breaks and leisure activities
  • Don’t take on too much – prioritise your tasks and don’t feel guilty about saying 'no' if you’re asked to take on more than you can handle
  • Listen to some calming music – or just music that you love – to change your mood
  • Exercise regularly – channel any anxiety into exercise, whether that's a long session at the gym or a gentle stroll in the park, and get those endorphins flowing. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.


If you start to feel stress symptoms:

  • Own up to yourself that you’re stressed and don’t try to ignore it 
  • Open up and talk to someone you trust if you’re having trouble coping – remember that your friends will most probably be feeling the same as you
  • Write down all the issues that are causing you stress and as many solutions as you can think of, then make a plan to deal with each problem 
  • Challenge irrational negative thoughts such as ‘I’m going to fail these exams’, ‘I’ll never remember all this’ – you wouldn’t say this to a friend so why say it to yourself?
  • Try to concentrate on the present, without dwelling on the past or future worries 
  • Take advantage of professional help available to you, whether you're at home or at university.


Some of this advice has been drawn from the NHS Foundation Trust's self-help guide on stress. You can download this guide, and other useful self-help booklets, here.

At UCA, we offer a free counselling service to all of our students if they experience stress for any reason, such as personal pressures - our trained counsellors are available for consultations in a safe and confidential setting. Find out more about our counselling service here.