The SecEd Podcast: Beating exam anxiety – how to prepare your students for their exams

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

This episode focuses on how we can help students to prepare for their examinations (including GCSEs and A levels) and support them to handle the anxiety and stress that exams season can often bring.

Our experts discuss how we can support students academically and pastorally, both ahead of sitting their exams and afterwards. We also consider the impact of Covid on exam preparation this year, including the lack of curriculum coverage and a lack of student experience of sitting exams, and offer some tips for overcoming these challenges.

We look at how schools can prepare students so they know what to expect, building techniques to use on the day, spotting the signs that students may be struggling with stress, and delivering revision support, including teaching ideas and revision tips.

We talk about the importance of sleep and healthy eating as well as handling the distractions of social media. We discuss three ways students can “empty their stress buckets” each day and how we might prepare pupils to be able to use mindfulness techniques when required in exams.

We discuss how to give students that sense of control, helping them to find the best way to revise and taking the pressure of them when exams begin.

This episode has been produced in partnership with awarding body Eduqas:

The podcast is hosted by Matt Bromley, an education advisor and author with more than 20 years’ experience in teaching including as a secondary headteacher and MAT director. Our guests are:

  • Natasha Devon, an author, broadcaster, and mental health and wellbeing campaigner. The former children’s mental health tsar, Natasha is the author of Yes You Can Ace Your Exams Without Losing Your Mind (Pan Macmillan, 2020).
  • Fran Nantongwe is a social sciences teacher working at a school in Norfolk and who works with a high number of exam classes.
  • Ben Hewitson, a sociology teacher at Kesgrave High School in Suffolk who also supports students through their examination process.
  • Dr Rachel Dodge is qualifications development officer at WJEC/Eduqas. She holds a PhD in psychology focused on student wellbeing.

To hear other SecEd podcasts, or to subscribe for free to new editions, search for 'The SecEd Podcast' in your podcast streaming application of choice. Or visit

For details about The SecEd Podcast, or to suggest future topics, email editor Pete Henshaw at


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