General Information

Preparing for exams

We recognise that for many students, sitting a formal exam is likely to add to normal levels of stress and anxiety.

In addition, many students will be unfamiliar with the rules and regulations around sitting exams at Colchester Institute and will be unsure what it looks and feels like to walk into an exam room, so we will be taking steps to help prepare students in advance.

We have produced a video that will show you what it is like to sit an exam at Colchester Institute:

The summer term will focus on “Destresstival” with support and information for students to be ready for the exam and assessment season including:

• Familiarisation with exam rules and processes
• Strategies to cope with exam stress
• Support and drop-in sessions/workshops for students with severe anxiety.
• Wellbeing activities to promote good mental and physical health

Exam Stress and Anxiety
Fear of the unknown

Stress is normal. It is often a result of feeling under pressure or having multiple demands on us. When we have a lot to do and lots to think about, we can feel we have lost control. Stress can be helpful at times – it can give us drive and motivation, and encourage us to be productive. However, if we are feeling too stressed for long periods of time, it can then have an impact on our general wellbeing and mental health.

When people are revising for and preparing for exams it is very normal to feel stress and also high levels of anxiety, so you shouldn’t think you’re unusual – not many people actually enjoy exams! The trick is to find strategies that work for you to help you cope with how you are feeling, and hopefully turn this into a positive thing.

We think this video sums it up well and shows how you can feel overloaded by stress at times – well worth a watch!


Anxiety and stress often go hand in hand, and anxiety is a normal response to any situation we may see as threatening or frightening. The problem comes when the level of anxiety is no longer rational in comparison to the event. Unfortunately, anxiety can very quickly, manifest into a problem for someone, and at times, can lead to panic attacks.

Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives, often in response to triggers, and exams can quite often be a cause.

Helpful free resources for reducing stress

We understand that preparing for exams can be very difficult and sometimes overwhelming so we have provided some links to other organisations in case you may need some extra support.

Also, the following are free resources that you might find helpful.

Headspace – Headspace is a comprehensive meditation app, with guided and unguided meditations to help you through all phases of your life. The free app offers ten sessions, however, there is an optional ‘in-app’ subscription allowing you to access many more hours of extra content.
CALM – This is an app designed to help you to be calm; with stunning backgrounds that you can stare at for ages, and a range of meditations, CALM provides a space to get away from it all, without having to go anywhere.
SAM – This is a self-help app for the mind – providing a range of self-help techniques organised into several wellbeing themes, together with tools for recording and monitoring changes in your wellbeing.