Students investigate practical strategies to manage exam stress.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

Online learning

SEL Competencies



Learning intention

Students assess a variety of strategies for managing exam stress.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand exam stress as something that everyone experiences and that can be managed

  • appreciate how to use practical strategies to beat exam stress.

Materials needed

  • Student access to ReachOut's exam-slaying checklist

  • Student access to the article '5 apps for beating exam stress'

  • Student access to the article 'Everyday mindfulness'

  • Student access to the quiz 'How are you going'

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate strategies for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety or wellbeing may be at risk (AC9HP10P08)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

    • Reflecting

    • Inquiring

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Assesses and applies self-management skills to effectively manage complex situations (PD5-9)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses, and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses to health and wellbeing (VCHPEP147)

Show details

Activity 1

Think about it

5 minutes

Students individually write for one minute per question to answer the following:

  • Why do exams cause stress?

  • What happens when you feel stressed prior to exams?

  • What happens when you feel stressed during exams?

  • Do you do anything for exam stress?

Activity 2


40 minutes

Explore the following strategies for managing exam stress.

  1. Student access to 'ReachOut's exam-slaying checklist' and discuss:

    • Why could the strategies identified be useful in managing stress in the hours before an exam?

    • Would the students add, change or adapt any aspect?

  2. Encourage students to look at the apps suggested in the article '5 apps for beating exam stress':

    • Are there any apps in the list they think would help them?

    • Do any of the students in the class already use any of these apps? If yes, ask them to share their experiences with the group and to explain why they use them.

  3. Encourage students to watch and discuss one of the mindfulness videos in the article 'Everyday mindfulness':

    • Did anything surprise you about mindfulness?

    • Is mindfulness something you would practise to help you focus?

Activity 3

Reflection activity

15 minutes

  1. Discuss with students what they do if they aren’t coping with exams and exam stress. Outline for students who they can talk to at your school.

  2. Students reflect on how they are currently coping by completing the quiz 'How are you going?'. This quiz shares tips at the completion, depending on the students’ answers.


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