Keeping Cool and Acing Your Exams

16 May 2019

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

As the A Level and GCSE exam period begins, it’s perfectly normal to experience a certain amount of stress. As it happens, it’s also Mental Health Awareness Week – and here at ACM, we work tirelessly to promote the health and wellbeing of our students while guiding them towards long-term and sustainable careers in the creative industries. In this blog post, we’ll run through some fantastic revision and study tips, and explain how you can incorporate effective stress management techniques into your revision routine.


Visualise the best-case scenario.

A strong dose of optimism and a positive mindset will help keep you going as you enter a challenging but also extremely rewarding time. It may seem a little early to imagine the sense of relief and achievement you’ll feel after walking out of an exam knowing that you put in a great performance, but keeping your ideal outcome in mind will not only help distract you from worries and stress, but also fire you up and get you motivated. This will make success that much more likely – and move you closer to the career of your dreams while enjoying each step along the way.

Reward yourself.

If you love the subject you’re studying, learning and revising become fun and enjoyable activities – which is why at ACM, we actively encourage future students to explore the different options we offer and choose the journey that fits them best. However, in more traditional educational institutions the subjects on offer may not reflect where you one day want to be – but they’re still worth mastering, and punctuating your study sessions with entertaining rewards (such as watching a favourite music video on YouTube) can give you something to look forward to, and keep you working harder for longer periods of time. That said, balance is absolutely key, which brings us to our next tip… 

Stay disciplined.

Hard work and discipline may sound boring, but changing your perspective can work wonders. Think about martial artists – especially ninjas, arguably the coolest of them all. Discipline and a consistent work ethic enable ninjas to master themselves and develop incredible skills, and committing to your studies in the same way is guaranteed to help you pass your exams. Check out the video below to see ShaoDow – ACM’s resident ninja – demonstrate just what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Find a technique that works for you. 

From mind maps to study cards and simple repetition, there are plenty of established study techniques to choose from. Try as many as you can, and see what works best; different techniques work for different people, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, time management is undeniably crucial – so create a detailed exam and revision timetable, study on a daily basis rather than sitting down for long sessions once a week, and employ the Pomodoro Technique by studying for 25 minutes before giving yourself a five-minute break and repeating that pattern for two hours. Then you can rest for a longer period, and… 

Be mindful.

Although it can be hard to relax when exams appear on the horizon, mindfulness meditation techniques have been proven to help reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and even make us happier. Simply stopping for a few minutes to focus on your breathing, slow it down, and feel your muscles soften as you let go of any tension can be surprisingly refreshing – and this will prevent fatigue from setting in when the pressure is on. Imagine your ideal meditation and study environment, and consider making some small purchases to make yourself as comfortable as possible.


Music is a unique and ubiquitous artform, and millions of people worldwide use it to get in the zone as they prepare for work. If you need to relax and chill out, there are plenty of amazing songs, bands, and artists that can put you into the right state of mind. You can also explore everything from ASMR to binaural beats – and we recommend checking out Marconi Union’s famous track ‘Weightless’, which neuroscientific research has found to be particularly effective in reducing anxiety.

Form a study group.

Picture a studying student, and you’ll probably imagine someone sitting on their own at a desk. Solo study work is incredibly important, as working alone allows you complete control over your surroundings – and if you need total silence, your local library can be a lifesaver. For many students, however, it may be helpful to turn study sessions into more sociable events.

As part of a dedicated study group, you’ll be able to discuss and debate a subject while offering mutual support and keeping each other motivated. This will help deepen your understanding of the topic at hand, and can even turn revision sessions into something to look forward to. Remember to remain organised and disciplined, manage your time effectively, and mix your group gatherings with solo studies to find the balance that works for you.


If you’re dreaming of an educational experience that incorporates a range of study and relaxation tools, keeps you engaged and excited, introduces you to plenty of likeminded friends, and helps you turn your course into a sustainable and long-term creative industries career, ACM is the perfect choice for you. As an ACM student, you’ll have access to our award-winning Student Support team, as well as dedicated wellbeing workshops and masterclasses from industry celebrities like Tulisa Contostavlos – and your mental and physical health will be treated as a vital priority. We do everything we can to support everyone who studies with us throughout their time at ACM, and we can’t wait to help you take your first steps into the creative industries!

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help kick-start your music career, why not come along to one of ACM’s Open Days.

Open Days