Stress is something that most of us deal with, live with. This is because our lives are full of different situations that make us feel pressured such as: work, social situations and even mental health can lead us to feeling stressed. People from all ages experience stress in their lives at some point either physically, mentally or emotionally. One key time in life where many young adolescents start to feel the strong emotion of stress is during school specifically, during exam time.


Exam season is right around the corner, this is a time where students start to feel heavy amounts of pressure being put on their shoulders. As a year 12 Sixth Form student myself who has completed GCSE’s and is now preparing for mocks in July, I can easily say that stress is one key element almost any student will have when preparing for exams. The pressure of doing well and meeting your own expectations for subjects you have studied for, for at least 5 years is so stressful. This is not a good position to be in when walking into that dreaded exam hall. Furthermore, dealing with stress during this specific time is especially, not good for students mental states. Stress can damage the mind and it’s functions, so when it comes to students revising, stress can have a huge impact on the amount of information that goes in and out of their mind. Schools as a whole should always check their students are feeling confident and supported when they approach an exam paper, not full of stress and nerves. A student’s mental state is just as important as their physical state.


This is not just the case for younger school students about to sit exams, but it is also stressful for slightly older pupils who attend Sixth Forms and Colleges. In a couple of months, year 13 and year 12 students will be sitting mocks as well as real exams. Students in these years (such as myself) will also be experiencing many forms of stress. Additionally, this further emphasises that stress can be presented in any age group in many different ways.

One year 12 student, Oliver Rickard, is going to be sitting his mocks in the month of July. Oliver takes the following subjects of: English Language, History and Geography. On top of these three courses, Oliver is also completing an EPQ course on volcanic settlements. With mocks being so close, Oliver stated how he is feeling about mocks, “Nervous, because I know they will have a large impact on getting into Uni. I am really stressed. I think that Covid effected my productivity, it effected my GCSE’s but I don’t think it will have any impact on my mocks or A-Levels next year”. Not only does this prove that students experience stress during these crucial times, but also factors (such as COVID-19 lockdowns) can really impact their stress and productivity levels.

Another year 12 student, Josie Knight, is also going to be sitting her mock exams in July. Josie takes the following subjects of: Sociology, Biology and Geography. However, on top of her three courses, she is also going to be sitting her extra curricular subject (core maths) exam in May. Josie stated “I’m feeling the stress since core maths is a one year course and along with revision for that, mocks are coming up in July. As we’re applying for Uni and Apprenticeships this year I need a good maths grade to apply, and a lot of Universities are looking for top grades”. Overall, the statements from these two students really prove that they are experiencing high stress levels towards exams even after going through the exam process with GCSE’s, they are still being weighed down with stress.


In many schools, it is implied that GCSE’s are crucial for our future and they are seen by some as being gateways to what we ‘can and can’t do’ in our futures. That is they key reason why students are full to the brim with stress, because this is their futures. These exams determine what their futures will look like whether that is when it comes to applying for competitive Universities, Apprenticeships and even particular jobs. The results of their knowledge at the young age of just sixteen defines what paths they can take in life. That’s the reason why most students get stressed before an exam, not just because of general nerves, but because when they walk into that exam hall they are deciding their future All based off of an exam paper. Moreover, to make pre-exam stress less of an issue/regular occurrence at exam time, there are some possible solutions. For example, peer support from parents/teachers would be a key factor to preventing student stress and helping them remain calm and focused. This could be done by checking up on students at the beginning of lessons, letting them know that they have support for their exams and even making sure they aren’t spending every minute of every hour revising. That they are also getting rest and meeting with their friends to give their busy minds a break from the pressure. Small things like this have a big impact on students and can have a great impact on the effort they put into their exams!


People of any age should not have to cope with excessive amounts of stress on their shoulders. Stress is something that can be prevented in many ways mainly, by the help of others. Students of any age should not have to be stressing about exams. They should be having positive feelings when revising as well as having a lot of confidence, not having to worry about stress and the effects it can have on the performance of their exams.