Hugh Baird College

Exam Stress or Anxiety Support

Exam stress can start when you feel you can’t cope with revision, or feel pressure from your tutors or family. You might worry you’re going to fail or you won’t get the grades you need for the course or job you want, but we’ve got advice and tips on coping, and the College has a team to help you all the way.

It can seem scary to talk about stress or anxiety. You might feel like nobody else is feeling this way. But bottling up stress and trying to deal with it on your own can often make the stress worse. So it can really help to talk.

Exam results and expectations

When we feel anxious, we often give ourselves negative messages like: ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m useless’ and ‘I’m going to fail’.

It can be difficult but try to replace these with positive thoughts such as: ‘this is just anxiety, it can’t harm me’ and, ‘relax, concentrate – it’s going to be okay’.

Picturing how you’d like things to go can help you feel more positive. Try to imagine yourself turning up to an exam feeling confident and relaxed. You turn over your paper, write down what you do know and come away knowing you tried your best on the day.

It can sometimes feel like your whole future depends on what grades you get. There can be a lot of pressure on young people to do well in exams which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

You might have been predicted certain grades and feel if you don’t get the grade you’ll let your teachers or parents down.

Remember, exams are important – but they’re not the only way to a successful future. Lots of people achieve success in life without doing well in exams.

Problems at home?

If your family are arguing or going through a tough time, it can make finding time to revise and concentrate even more difficult. Things affecting your concentration could include:

If you feel any of these problems are affecting your college work or studying, it’s important to tell someone how you feel. This could be a teacher or a friend.

In some serious situations, your school might be able to make exceptions, such as marking your exam papers based on your work throughout the year, but your teacher can discuss this with you. You can always talk to a Childline counsellor. They’re there to listen to you and to support you.

Accessing Help or Support

The College has a Health & Wellbeing Coordinator and two Student Counsellors who can offer you support. We support students on a variety of issues, and can especially help students dealing with exam stress and anxiety. We are based mainly in The POD in the Balliol building reception area, but we are also available across other College campuses:


Bernie O’Farrell
Telephone: 0151 353 4410 or email anthony.o’

Hannah Kelly
Telephone: 0151 353 4409 or email

Health & Wellbeing Coordinator:

Janine Hopewell
Telephone: 0151 353 4462 or email

You can self-refer, or ask your tutor or another member of staff to refer them. You can also email, phone, or drop in.

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