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It’s that time of year. Ellie Chesshire writes an open letter, reassuring students that the exam period is going to be okay in the end.

Amazingly exam season is already upon us. I know most us, myself included, feel like the year has only just begun, and yet here we are with the summer exams only a few weeks away. For many students exam season can be an extremely stressful time and for a variety of reasons. Some of us may have whittled away the Easter holidays, only to come back and find that everyone else is half way through their revision. Some of us may have spent the holidays realising that they don’t understand anything their lecturer has been harping on about for the last nine months, and some of us may just find exams stressful.

‘There is always a plan B’

Whatever your reasoning for getting freaked out at the word ‘exam’, it is all totally normal. Sitting exams is a very pressured time and for many students, the next few weeks have a lot riding on them. While there can be no doubt exams are important however, they are not the end of the world and many people build them up to be.

It is so important to have faith in yourself and your abilities but also to remember that if things do go a bit wrong then there is always a plan B.

If you have spent your Easter holidays doing more play and less work, then you still have time to turn it around. Try and remember that you will have taken in more than you think over the year and that there are still three weeks until exams actually start. It can be very difficult to remember to stay calm when you feel as though you are drowning with work, but just remember to take each day at a time and break down your work into doable sections. Often the most daunting part of revision is actually starting it, once you’ve done that your likely to find getting your head down much easier.

There is also still plenty of time to ask for help with areas of the course you may be struggling with. Ask friends, lecturers or your personal tutor. Everyone has been in the frustrating situation where you just can’t seem to make sense of what you’re doing and asking for help sooner rather than later is always better. There is nothing more reassuring than finally understanding a piece of work that you’ve been struggling with so long.

‘Allowing yourself to relax and be with friends for an hour or two can often do a lot of good’

Many students just find exams stressful because they are exams and there can be a lot riding on the result. And of course making yourself relax is always easier said than done. However, if exam stress is wearing you down then it is important to take some time out. While doing twelve hours of revision a day may feel productive, it is often not the most beneficial. Allowing yourself to relax and be with friends for an hour or two can often do a lot of good.

I know from my own experiences that exams are daunting. Between the years 2013 and 2015 when I was sitting GCSEs and A Levels, I would dread the summer season, having nightmares over what might happen if I flunked out. And, like most people, there were a couple of exams I didn’t do as well in as I’d hoped. But with the proper preparation it all worked out and I’m at the university I’ve always wanted to be at.

It is of course important to work hard and prepare properly for exams. However, if you are finding yourself overwhelmed with stress, then it is also important to remember that they are not the end of the world. No matter how bad the situation might seem, there is always a plan B and things are never as bad as they might seem in the moment.

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How are you feeling about the exam period? Let us know.

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