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Post-Exam Survival Guide

It is perfectly natural and normal to feel worried. Read our post-exam survival guide to help manage those worries!

So you just completed your exam. Your thought it had gone well until you heard people sharing answers outside the exam hall. Were you betrayed by your calculator? Did you answer the wrong question? Maybe they’re the ones who got the question wrong. Take a read of our post-exam survival guide. This guide will help you to move past dwelling on your last exam and help manage those stress levels!

All these questions are floating around your head and it’s giving you exam anxiety. It is perfectly natural to be feeling worried. You are not alone – even the best-prepared and highest-achieving student feels worried about exam success when exam time arrives.

Follow our survival guide below to help you survive this time of post-exam stress.


Once you are out of the exam hall, the exam is finished. Top tip – don’t waste time reliving it by talking about the answers. Either you’ll increase your stress levels or you’ll make another student stressed. Don’t be that person.

Similarly, don’t go to online forums and find unofficial mark schemes to see if you ‘got it right’. Those mark schemes are not always accurate and it will just add to your anxiety. The thing is, you might think these are the correct answers when that’s not the case at all.

Post-exam talk to someone


Just because you can’t talk about the exam questions doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Talk to them about the pressure, emotions and stress you might be feeling. Talking about these fears out loud with a teacher, parent or other student will allow you to regain control over them instead of letting them control you.

Or, top tip, if a person isn’t around to talk to, use positive self-talk. Say your negative thoughts out loud and use a breathing exercise to stay calm. Instead of allowing your brain to replay that one question you think you got wrong or that mistake you made over and over again, you can talk about it and figure out a response to it. So when those negative thoughts resurface later, you already have an antidote against them.

Surviving post-exam talk to a teacher or parent

It’s not as bad as you think

Sometimes we think we have completely failed. Often this is just our paranoia projecting a few mistakes we made and applying them to the whole paper. Maybe you made mistakes on two questions, but this does not mean you failed the whole paper!

When we’re anxious about something, we tend to focus on and exaggerate the negative. It’s very unlikely that you did as badly as you think you did.

Exam survival guide - don't dwell


It’s not the end of the world even if you didn’t do as well as you think you could have. You might have done really well on other exams that will bring your overall grade up. You can also retake the paper. And there will be many other opportunities, ensuring that new (and often better) doors will open for you. If you are worried about the impact exams may have had on your university place try not to panic, even if you don’t get the grades there are always options. Take a look at the guide here from UCAS


If you have more exams left to sit, make sure you keep your revision sessions going. Don’t let negative feelings about an exam put you off your game for your remaining exams. Top tip, with your revision, make sure you take regular breaks. During the exam period make sure you get enough sleep too! Exam preparation is really important so make sure you have a solid revision plan in place

Try not to dwell on a single exam for too long. Then you can get bogged down in negative thoughts which might sabotage your chances in the exam hall next time. Allow yourself some time to be disappointed, and talk through your feelings. Then try to get back on track with your revision plan and ace the rest of your exams. That way this one paper will just look like a fluke!

Good luck if you have more exams to sit. If you are all done, congratulations and remember not to dwell on the past exams.

If exam season isn’t over for you, help manage your stress levels and read our top tips blog post HERE for feeling more confident in the exam hall! Or if exam season is over for you, and you are ready to relax, why not read our related article HERE.

Keep looking forward

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