How To Handle Your Stress When Exam Is Approaching?


We have received enormous amount of stress rescue requests from candidates. Especially when the exam is approaching.

We do hope parents and educators are paying kind attention to this post.

All of the candidates are pouring their hearts out to us, crying for help, because there is really no one listening to them or helping them.

Here are some of their cry out:

  • Fear of failing
  • Not being able to recall stuff I just studied
  • Not enough time!!!
  • I’m so scared right now! Do you think there’s any chance I might improve in time for my examinations?
  • Pressure from teachers and parents
  • Feeling like I’m not worth anything or good enough
  • I feel myself getting everything and understanding it but if I try to solve anything, it just doesn’t happen and it’s extremely frustrating.
  • My teachers do not seem passionate with teaching, they are interested in being given more money incentives on top of their salaries, they want money, my school is poor to pay more money
  • I am scared from the examinations

… and many many more.

Therefore, in today’s Q&A, we will talk about how to “handle” your stress. Hope this would help you not only in your exam, you probably will carry this throughout your life πŸ™‚

Can We “Handle” Stress?

Contrary to popular belief, we CAN NOT “handle” stress.

Stress does not exist. It is NOT a thing that you can hold nor eat πŸ˜‰

Stress is a feeling resulting from your thought.

From your ‘negative’ thought to be precise.

When your mind constantly thinking on negative thoughts, for example: you are scared to fail, or not getting an A*, or not good enough comparing to your older brothers or sisters, etc…; you create a bad feeling inside your body from all the negative thoughts.

The bad feeling that you feel, is what you call ‘stress’.

The more you want to “handle” your stress, the more you think there is something wrong about you. Then, you put more pressure and create more unwanted negative thoughts about yourself.

Why would you do that then?

Shall we agree from now on you don’t try to “handle” your stress anymore?

We only take “YES” as the answer πŸ˜‰

So what should you do then? Keep reading…

1. Admit You Have Negative Thought(s)

There is really no big deal to admit we have negative thoughts. Everyone has them.

Just the courage to admit we have them, we have already eliminated most of the bad feelings.

Aren’t you feel lighter now?

Know that you can’t fight darkness with darkness. You can only fight darkness with light. By admitting the existence of negativity, you have inserted the light of positivity.

That is the most important starting point, and it is essential for you to continue to the next step.

2. Change Your Thoughts

Now that you know stress is the bad feelings you created from all your negative thoughts.

All you need to do now is ? Change Your Thoughts.

Here are some steps for you to start doing that:

  • Start by imagining the positive outcomes that you want to see or to have. For example: imagine you score A* in Maths, then feel the happiness feeling when you see your result slip.
    As Albert Einstein said: ?Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.?

  • Make a list of things that you are afraid or frustrated of. Next, write the positive opposite of it. For example: I am scared of exams. The positive opposite you could write: I handle exam with ease / I write smoothly in the exam / I am entering the exam hall will full energy and I can’t wait to put everything I know down on the paper to show that I deserved an A* πŸ™‚

  • Know that examination is just a method used to see if you have understood the theory thoroughly and know how to present it out.

  • Examination is also a way to let you find out what is your best talent. You will notice a trend that you tend to do well in certain subjects, but not the others. So, there is really no big deal if you can’t do well in Physics but trump in Arts. Because that is your best talent that you are meant to be the best in order to contribute to mankind in the future.

When you are making your list, you will notice that you have a shift in your feeling.

You will feel must lighter, your mind is clearer, you have so much energy that you want to jump into the exam hall right now, and most importantly, you will notice a big smile on your face ? because now you are a much happier person!

The final step is, you must train yourself to keep this happy feeling and not let yourself slide backwards again to the negative thoughts.

Step 3 will show you exactly how to do that.

3. Get Good Results By Keeping The Positive Thoughts

The best way to keep your mind on positive thoughts is ? gratitude.

If you make a search, you will discover many great minds had always said the same thing about gratitude, and what kind of miracle it would bring to you.

Here are some of them:

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” ~ Tony Robbins

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

?Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity?. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.? ~ Melodie Beatty

Make gratitude your daily dose in your daily life.

You could be grateful for the chance to study, the ability to read and write, to be able to attend your exam at your comfort, to have a comfortable bed to sleep on each night, the luxury of clean running water and electricity, the money that have been given to you so you could continue your education, the fresh air, all your favourite food that is always available at your reach, etc etc etc …

The list is so vast that we simply couldn’t put everything here. But you get the idea of where to start πŸ™‚

Pay attention to how you feel. If you are not feeling good, that means your mind is currently broadcasting negative thoughts.

Immediately find anything you could be grateful for to shift to positive thought.


Last but not least, please know that you are a worthy human being. Everyone is.

We are all here to do something important. We are all equipped with a special talent that only we have, no one else.

And we are meant to find out what we are good at, so we could contribute this talent to mankind. When you are contributing your best talent for the benefit of mankind, you will be rewarded handsomely (a.k.a earning a lot of money). πŸ™‚

So now, go out there and score A*!

288 Replies to “How To Handle Your Stress When Exam Is Approaching?”

    • Hi Agnes,

      Understanding the whole syllabus may not be sufficient. You should start doing revision using the past exam papers available here:

      Pay attention to the most common mistakes you always seem to make. Make notes and revise them, so you can avoid making the same mistakes in your actual exam. Minimize your reference checks. Try solving a problem with the formula without looking it up. You MUST do this as many times as you can.

    • Hi Bansi,

      You should start doing your revision (if you haven?t already) now that your exam is nearing. With Maths, you?ll need a lot of practices. Spend at least 2 to 3 hours every day to work on the past exam papers.

      1. Learn and understand the key concepts and formulas. Familiarise/memorise the key equations/formulas (refer to the latest syllabus on what is expected: ).

      2. Do revision based on the latest syllabus and practice with the latest past exam papers ( ). Pay attention to the most common mistakes you always seem to make. Make notes and revise them, so you can avoid making the same mistakes in your actual exam.

  1. hi i m doing my IGCSE this year n i m nervous as hell. i don’t like maths n chemistry. mostly chem. can anyone please help me with chem.

    • Hi Rukma,
      That shows that you do not understand the theories you learnt. If you “understand”, you do not need to memorise and you won’t forget. Learn with the “understand how it works” mindset. You will see the difference.

  2. Dear IGCSE,
    ive finished all my past papers in chemistry
    what shall i practice on now for my FEB MRACH 2107
    are there any free available resources!

  3. i want to do hardcore revision specially for ICT and Biology as my exams are starting from 15 Feb. what and how should i do it. Please give me some tips and tricks to do. Also I am confused whether before the exam should i do past papers or the text book. I haven’t made notes also. Please help.

    • Hi Kevin,
      At this point, you should just practise past papers. Refer to your reference books if you find you can’t answer any questions. Do not stress yourself up on the day before the exam. You should just review back your common mistakes that you always make in the past papers.

      Just take actions, and do your best. Everything would be ok. πŸ™‚

  4. How to revise the subjects and be sure that it has been completely done and thoroughly done. After closing the text book I still feel underprepared. Please help. Thank you.

    • Hi Miranda,
      No, this is not a good thinking. You must always think positive that you are able to achieve your goal. Because this is the truth! πŸ™‚

  5. Dear IGCSE members,

    I’m Hafriz from Malaysia. I have read your article and I feel a bit ease. Due to the fact that I failed in my recent trial, I had many problems until now. As the exam is just around the corner, both my parents and teachers are putting a lot of pressure. I would like to get some motivational advice from you. Thank you πŸ™‚

    Note : I’m sorry if I have any English errors(hehehe)

  6. Hi
    ur advice ir really helpful , I am extremely optimistic about my exams the coming may. THANKS FOR making me use thoughts in a constructive way !
    Aiming forward for 8 A*

  7. Dear igcse team,
    My exams are just a month to go and i am not at all confident to write the exams. I am not scared but each time i feel that i should work more but i have no time.
    Also i have a query that how many ears of past papers are advisable to be done at this point of time and how to prepare for exam just a day before the exam.
    I am taking 8 subjects and expecting A* in all. I need advice for how to build up my confidence and stratergies i could follow

    • Hi Vidhi,
      To build up your confidence, just read the article above πŸ™‚

      You must do as many past papers as you could. The sky is the limit! πŸ™‚ … You should finish all your revision before your exams. You shouldn’t do anything just a day before the exam. You should just relax, or re-visit your weak point only.

  8. Hi igcse center,
    My question is that if i haven’t chosen physics for my igcse’s , can i still take it for as-level ?

    • Hi there,
      This might not be possible. You need to have the basic (at IGCSE level) before you proceed to the advance level (AS/A Level).

  9. Hi IGCSE Centre –

    I am having a bit of trouble scoring for economics. I believe it is my way of explaining the terms and concepts that its pulling me down. Would you mind suggesting ways to improve on explanation? tks

    • Hi Lee,
      Take a look at the mark schemes. Compare the requirements needed in the mark schemes and your answers. Try to find out what is needed for such question.

  10. I have chemistry exam in.October November. Please tell me should I revise whole book and.then start past papers or I should do it chapterwise questions.
    And please tell me how much minimum pastpapers I.need to do to.get a*. I know as much I I practice is better for me but still I want to.know the minimum. Thanks please reply ASAP

  11. Hello IGCSE team,
    I’m in year 10 and i’ve been studying in english (and in the english system) for 3 years now, but i am going back to France next year in a French school. I am french so this will not be a problem…
    However my school right now is a little school in Zanzibar, an island of Tanzania, and even though it was the best school in my life I (and my parents as well) can clearly see that the level is very low. Some teachers cannot teach properly at all, because they let students have free time half the time.. And i am very scared because in France the school is very strict and extremely hard. I fear I am not prepared for maths and physics, even worse for chemistry and biology. I do take some extra lessons on monday for maths but… i am very stressed and get a lot of pressure from my parents. And the worst thing is, i am very lazy πŸ™
    Is there any way i can “survive” this ? Can you guys help me ? or am destined to repeat ?
    Thank you in advance,

    • Hi Cloe,
      We strongly suggest you to take the thinking of “repeat” out of your mind πŸ™‚

      Just follow through in your new school, and stop thinking about “how it should be” in your old school. Concentrate in your weak subjects, and get as much assistance as you could in order to help you to excel.

      In terms of the “laziness”, you must decide not to be anymore. Only YOU can take the action, nobody can πŸ™‚

  12. Brilliant!Keep up the great work.I have a question though, snce a lot of marks can be lost due to bad handwriting.How can I improve mine,it is defintely not one of the best.

    • Hi Peace,
      The best way is to change your handwriting to one that is legible. Keep practising your new handwriting style until it becomes your permanent style πŸ™‚

    • Hey Peace,
      try to use childrens’ handwriting training books and practice one alphabet everyday till you achieve your goal. πŸ™‚

  13. Hi,I just read your article and it really helped me a lot.My mind is clearer thanks to you guys I am 99% certain I will get my 11A*.Thank you so much!!!!?

  14. My final exams are in few weeks can u please tell me how to study and get good grades
    I want to get atleast 4 As in o level
    Thanku! Please reply ASAP

  15. Hey IGCSE Centre,
    I wanted to know if the total percentage is calculated for all the subjects…or if it is only the grading

  16. Hello IGCSE CENTRE,

    I am feeling happy and relaxed after reading the article . I am confident and I will believing myself after reading the article . I am working hard for my exams and I will get rid of all my problems .

    I think I will be able to think positively . I am feeling much better now .

    I will read all the tips again and again before my exams and any problems .

    Stress , is Broken Up. Thanks a lot for the confidence and the tips.

    I will “AIM” for an A* and I always will.

        • Yes definitely! As long as you have worked diligently towards achieving A*, NOT just sitting and day-dreaming that you could get it.

          We have seen many such examples, and have “pulled” many candidates out of despair until they achieved A*. Just read our testimonials πŸ™‚

          Take proper actions, concentrate on your studies, do not care about what others said about you. You know you can do it! πŸ™‚

          • I just want to ask that what is done in case the paper is misplaced as a few of my fellow students have raised this question.

  17. Hello IGCSE Centre,
    I wanted to ask, since my finals are on May/June. and If i need to practice some papers.
    Do i necessarily need to do the October/November papers?

    Thank you! Please reply ASAP πŸ™‚

  18. Hello IGCSE center,
    As you know, some topics have been added to the Biology Syllabus. We haven’t been thought ny of them in school. I do not know how to study for them. Please help!

    • Hi Modou,
      You must talk to your teacher or your school regarding this. They must teach the new syllabus. Otherwise how could the students sit for the exam?

      Meanwhile, you can always get some reference books with the new syllabus and do your own study.

  19. Respected IGCSE Center,
    i was reading through the comments when i saw the amount of positivism your’re giving out.
    i thought i should make some use of that and ask you for help.
    i dont know if im really late in this post or not, but what i do know is that i AM really late for starting to properly study for my A2 bio course right now when my officials are in less than 3 weeks..
    but i really want to get an A because i’ve studied mt AS bio really well, and so i just need to pass the A2 with a good grade and not repeat it in the Nov. session.
    so.. my question is; if i start studying now, will i be able to get a good grade (A) ?
    -thanks for your efforts and cooperation

    • Yes definitely. Most importantly you must practise lots of past papers. Just keep going, and keep your mind on achieving A* πŸ™‚

  20. Hey IGCSE Centre,
    I would just like to know if there are any awards like best candidate in the world for e.g. Math (0580) Add. Math (0606) and Biology (0610)
    please reply asap

  21. Hi IGCSE Centre,
    I am IGCSE student studying in Class 8,I would like to know,if it is essential for me to choose Physics and Chemistry to continue Computer Science after Class 11.

    • Hi Abhirup,
      Usually for engineering courses you need to have Physics and Chemistry. You can get the confirmation from the university that you wish to apply for.

    • You must practise lots of past papers, and refer to your reference books when you face some obstacles. Otherwise, consult your teacher is also a good idea.

  22. Hi Igcse
    I’m Leticia and quite nervous about my forthcoming June exams. just received end of term ( March 23 ) results. Got 4 As, B, C and 2 Ds. Ds for physics and maths Extended. I am praying to increase my grades from Ds to at least Bs. Last year I got an E for maths, so my grade has improved. I hope to take your advice into my exams successfully, like I did last year.

    • Hi Leticia,
      Glad that our advice had helped πŸ™‚

      For Maths, you need to do lots of LOTS OF practices. πŸ™‚ Try to do all the past papers, and you will see the improvement.

  23. Hello IGCSE centre,

    I am here because of a question I have about the IGCSE history syllabus (0470). I am doing the Core option B, which focuses on the 20th century. It does have to do with stress about exams.

    Recently I had the opportunity to get my hands on the revision guide for my Core topics (and the depth study), yet to my surprise I saw two topics which I have not yet covered in class! Currently it is the Easter Break for me, so I do have time to study a bit more for history, though I am rather scared since my teacher never even touched upon this topic (the exact question is “How score was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe, 1948-c.1989?”), and half of the topic about USA’s containment policy.

    I am doing the CIE exams, and they are this May of 2016. According to my teacher we are only doing the depth study after the break, so it seem like he totally forgot to teach us this content. Is it possible that out of the core 7 questions (as in, topics which the core content focuses on) he can choose 5? An answer would really help me out since I can’t ask him (he doesn’t answer our emails during the break) and it’s stressing me out as the exams start in about a month!

    Thank you for your answer.

    • Hi Matthew,
      You need to study all the topics in the syllabus. You can’t choose which topic to study, as you won’t know what would be in the exam questions.

      You still have lots of time to cover the un-covered topics by your teacher. Just concentrate on studying, and don’t put your mind into “complaining” too much, as that won’t help anyway.

      If you have any further question related to the syllabus, you can always write to CIE directly and lodge your incident with CIE. If your school is a CIE registered Cambridge school, CIE will look into this matter seriously. The CIE website is:

  24. I have my igcse board exams after 2 months but im not ablw to concentrate how to concentrate on studies and how to get good grades

  25. thank you so much for helping , i’ve learnt that i have to be positive and never look back and do it if i really wanted it , and to do not care about what the people said , grateful

    • Hi Fatoumatta,

      You must start to read a lot from now, and check the dictionary for challenging words. This would build your vocabulary at the same time. For writing, the only way is practice, practice, practice πŸ™‚

  26. Got my ICT exams tommorow (i am not that awsome at it ) but now im really optimistic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks so much really helped -Sanjay Manchenella

  27. Hello IGCSE centre
    I’m Zoya khan of grade 10,i was really stressed out as my boards are coming. Thanks for the article it made me feel better. But can suggest me any more advise that i can concentrate on studies and appear good in my igcse exams?

  28. Thank you! That cleared the air on a lot of things for me! I get extremely frustrated and self critical when I don’t beat everyone in my class and this article has given me a rudimentary guideline as to how to overcome the negativity in my head and bring in more constructive thoughts.

  29. Hello Igcse centre! πŸ™‚
    I have just read your article and I must say I feel better right now πŸ™‚ . Haha I even feel like doing an exam right now! I just hope the energy and happiness I have right now will continue until the day I finish my exams in May. I am ready to get an A* Thank you! πŸ™‚

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