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Taking the stress out of exams – top tips for teachers

Exams are fast approaching, but rest assured, if you're teaching our GCSE and/or A level qualifications, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Here are our top tips to help prepare your students in the lead-up to their examinations.

Plan ahead
Prevent last-minute panic by ensuring an organised schedule with revision sessions equally spread out. Help your students set realistic, achievable revision targets, to help pace and prepare themselves before their examinations.

Signs and symptoms of stress
Anxiety and stress manifest themselves in different ways. Sometimes the signs are obvious, with students voicing their concerns and actively seeking support, while other students may seem uninterested, or start behaving unusually. It is important to identify the signs of not coping and address this.

Let's talk about stress
Managing stress is a life skill, not only will it help your students with exam pressure, but it will also prepare them for future challenges. Advise your students to look at stress in perspective - an active process where certain steps can be taken to limit its impact. Demonstrate how they can reduce anxiety with deep breathing, and replace negative thoughts with positive, realistic ones.

Remind them how brief the examination series is, and how short term sacrifice will bring long term benefits.

Effective revision techniques
Ensure that your students are using effective revision methods. Set a variety of different revision tasks to keep things interesting; quizzes, flashcards, self-testing work, mind-maps, and past papers. Encourage your students to test and trial a few different methods before choosing the techniques which are most effective for them personally.

Highlight the importance of quality over quantity – the most effective revision is in short, frequent, and targeted bursts.

Embrace technology

With technology allowing us to work anywhere, learning has no limitations. There are so many different apps and websites available to support revision.

Here are some great websites and apps to support revision sessions:

  • BBC Bitesize: Offers syllabus-specific material for a wide range of subjects.
  • GCSE Pod: Covers more than 20 GCSE and A level subjects (from every exam board). Generate revision tasks using their question bank tool.
  • Quizlet: Allows students to create revision flashcards or use study sets created by other students and/or teachers.
  • GoConqr: Enables you to create flashcards, mind maps, quizzes, and slide sets. You can then share your learning resources in global communities or distribute privately.
  • Get Revising: Help get your students organised. As well as revision support, this website offers a study planner template to help students manage their time efficiently.
  • WJEC / Eduqas Question Bank: Allows you to create free practice exam papers from thousands of our past paper questions. Find the questions you need, add them to your paper and export your paper with accompanying mark scheme and examiner's comments as a PDF ready to use in the classroom or as a revision tool for your students to use at home.