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How to Make It Through Exam Season Part 1: Teachers

Friday, February 22, 2019

How to Make It Through Exam Season Part 1: Teachers

There’s one word that springs to mind when you hear the word exam: stress! Ok, maybe also no life, no sleep and did we mention…STRESS? And that’s just the teachers!

You want what's best for your students, to see them happy and go on to succeed in life, so it’s easy to apply pressure to yourself. But, there comes a point where there's only so much you can do, and you have to let go.

There are countless guides for students during exam period, but what about the teachers who are there supporting and cheering on these students? You come to us!

Here are our top tips for surviving the exam period.


The same way as you tell your students, make sure that you start the day in the right way, with a filling and nutritious breakfast. If you can find the time to sit and enjoy a cup of your favourite brew – even better! Those five minutes may be the last you get to yourself for the rest of the day (of course this might be slightly more challenging if you have little ones, or big ones, at home too)!

Lesson Time

The important thing is not to panic. Your calmness, confidence and belief will make the greatest impact on your students. The difference made when someone believes in you is amazing.

Just remember, you won't be able to fit the entire curriculum into the short space of time before exams, so filter out the topics you believe will be the most challenging, have highest marks, and that students have struggled with in previous years.

Can you think of a game or activity that incorporates these more challenging areas to help the points stick in their minds?

Some teachers have seen success in ‘speed dating’ sessions (there are several versions, see here). You could also try a Q&A or classroom version of ‘Mastermind’. Why not even put yourself in the hot seat and get your students to quiz you? They could then take over and try and match your score!

Keep an eye out for our next blog which will go into supporting your students through exams and ways to make revision stick in their minds.


Lunch sessions can often be more productive than after school, as the minds of you and your students aren’t so tired. That being said, as much as you can, try not to fill every minute of every lunch with study. It's still important for you to have a break, even if it’s just five minutes of quiet to yourself.

Meditation's a great way to stop, breathe, de-stress and re-focus, and only needs a couple of minutes (don’t worry, you don’t need to sit cross-legged and sing ‘hummmm’). Apps such as Headspace, allow you to choose how long you meditate, starting at three minutes, so you can even hide in a toilet cubicle to remain undisturbed. Once you leave, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face whatever the afternoon brings.

After School

There's always an occasion, as a teacher, where you feel the need to stay behind at school, and this feeling is amplified during the exam period.

Ultimately, as with your lunchtimes, you must do what sits right in your heart of hearts and feels best for you. If you know you’ll feel more at peace being around morning, noon and night for your students, that’s ok, but it is not physically or mentally possible for everyone, which is also ok.

As long as you’re giving your pupils the proper tools and support during school hours, that’s the most vital part, don’t feel compelled to stay back every day if you need a break. Your health and wellbeing is number one priority. Just remember, if that’s not on track, you’re not going to be in the best place to support your students.

You’ll probably feel better mentally if you have it in mind what you’re doing the next day. So why not dedicate a set amount of time to prepare yourself, making sure that when that time does come to an end, you actually stop. 

Afterwards, why not treat yourself to a bath, book, watch TV with your family or even have an early night?! Just find time to do the things that make you happy.

Final Reminders

  1. You can’t physically do the paper for your students, so learn to accept when your job is done.
  2. Just because you see a colleague doing one thing, e.g. staying behind with students for hours every lunch and evening, doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Do what is right for you and your students.
  3. Take time out for yourself and to hear your own thoughts.

The thing to keep in mind is that the better you feel, the better your students will feel.

If you can get yourself in a place of calm, that will (as much as it can) pass onto your students. You will also feel readier to answer questions and handle any tired or stressed behaviour from your pupils (because we know that’s inevitable at this time!).

Let us know what advice you have for teachers, new and experienced, entering the exam period.

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