HKDSE 2019: How to deal with exam stress

HKDSE 2019: How to deal with exam stress

The HKDSEs and other exams have arrived, so here are the best survival tips to get you through the most stressful month of the year

The time has come. Cue the dramatic music. The HKDSEs – and other exams – have arrived. But fear not. We’ve put together a First Aid Kit to help you cope with exam stress.


Regularly drinking fresh water, at whatever temperature you like it, is one of the most vital things you can do for yourself. Keep a glass next to you when you study, and when you lose focus or hit a wall, slowly take a few sips.

A mantra

A mantra is a phrase that you can repeat again and again to make yourself feel better. It works just like a prayer, but if you are a believer, you can keep your favourite prayer or verse handy instead. Read your mantra five to 10 times before you start studying. And then, read it again just before you go into the exam room. Some useful mantras include: “I can do this”, “I got this”, “Bring it on!”, and “I am ready to take this challenge”.

At the same time, pay attention to what your mind keeps saying to you; if it goes on a negative “you’re gonna fail” rant, repeat your mantra until the thought goes away.

Last minute tips for your HKDSE Chinese Language speaking exam


Listening to music while you’re studying is not always a great idea because it can be distracting, especially songs with lyrics or a pounding beat. But you can still make a playlist of your favourite anthems to listen to during your breaks. Singing and dancing along will also get your blood pumping and help your body and brain relax so that you can refocus your mind again afterwards.


If you’re a sugar hog, you might think that you’re rewarding yourself by eating all the sweets. You know you’re not. Your brain doesn’t like sugar – all it does is give you a little boost of comfort. If you have to have it though, don’t beat yourself up about it. But it’s better to feed your brain healthy snacks. Harvard Health recommends blueberries, broccoli, walnuts, plain chocolate, and good old green tea.

A plan

Know what you’re going to study, when, and for how long. Don’t forget to allow time for breaks and exercise. After a while, sitting hunched over your books starts to do more harm than good. On the other hand, taking breaks just to watch YouTube videos is not productive either. Knowing when your next break is will ease your mind so that it is free to concentrate on important things.

80 per cent of HKDSE students have 'high' stress levels related to the exams, survey says

Chewing gum

Either find a flavour you love or switch them up, but being able to chew gum will help you to stay focused. Studies by scientists at Cardiff University in Britain found that chewing gum allowed students to work more quickly and accurately on tasks.

A picture of a telescope

This is to remind you to put things into perspective. When you look at it, you will remember that at the moment your mind is only focused on one thing, as if it were looking through a telescope. But in reality, there is an entire universe out there.

These exams are not your whole life, and they will not determine your future happiness or success. They are a temporary source of stress that in a few days will be over. The day after exams is where the next phase of your life begins, and there will be many phases after that.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Your HKDSE survival kit


To post comments please
register or