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Managing stress

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Exams and assignments can be uncomfortable experiences for many students and it can be difficult to do yourself justice. Preparing assignments, revising and taking exams can make you feel anxious and stressed.

Knowing how to cope with the demands of exams and assignments can vastly improve the experience for you. In this section you'll find audio files to download so you can listen to our ideas for dealing with revision and the exam, or use the relaxation exercises.

Visualisation techniques and self-talk can make a real difference, as an alternative or in addition to relaxation exercises.

A small number of students with more persistent anxiety find medical advice very helpful. It is also important to talk to your student support team.

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation exercises are an effective way of managing anxiety and stress. Listen to this relaxation audio when you are at home or in a comfortable and safe place.

Further help

More information can be found from Mind, the mental health charity. In particular, see their How to cope with the stress of student life page.

Access support

If you’re struggling to sleep, feeling low, stressed or not coping, current OU students can access free mental health and wellbeing support through our partnership with Big White Wall.

The Big White Wall website provides a safe, totally anonymous online space to air concerns, explore your feelings and learn how to self-manage your mental health and wellbeing. Some 93 per cent of members report feeling better because of using the service. It’s available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As it's a self-help resource, it may not be suitable for everyone.

To join Big White Wall’s supportive online community, register at You’ll need to use your OU email address (provided with Microsoft Office365) to register. This will be (where OUCU is your OU computer user name for example ). You can then choose an anonymous username for your time on the site.

If you have queries about your study, please contact your student support team. The staff at the Big White Wall are there to help you with wellbeing but can’t answer specific questions about The Open University or your studies with us.

If you use this service, we would be interested to know what you thought of it by completing this anonymous survey – Big White Wall user experience feedback.

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