Exam preparation can often be an anxious, stressful and potentially overwhelming experience. Exam-induced anxiety is normal however with the current pandemic creating an enormous amount of uncertainty with your exam, it has created a heightened level of worry and concern for students nationwide.  

Dr Russ Harris has laid out the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), to give a set of practical steps in responding to the corona crises which can be used to better prepare you during these uncertain times.

F  A  C  E  –  C  O  V  I  D

F = Focus on what is in your control

A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

C = Come back into your body

E = Engage in what you are doing

C = Committed action

O = Opening up

V = Values

I = Identify resources

D = Disinfect and distance

Focus on what is in your control

The situation with COVID-19 can affect us in several ways. This includes our physical health, emotional health, mental health and it further has an impact socially and economically. All of us, either now or later, will be faced which each of these challenges which will undoubtably cause some sort of disruption to our day to day lives. Whilst it is completely natural to get lost in endless worries, the more we pay attention to factors which are not in our control, the more hopeless or anxious we are likely to feel. Therefore, the most important thing anyone can do in these circumstances is to focus on is what is in your control.  

For students, your revision is still in your control. Your planning may have to adapt certain lifestyle change and planned revision days and mock exam may have been cancelled but the one factor that you have the ability to change is your mindset towards your exam.

Acknowledge your thoughts and feeling

Set aside some time during your busy schedule to self-reflect and acknowledge whatever thoughts, feelings and emotions are building up inside you. Be an observer to your body and mind and be aware of how the corona crises is affecting you. Whilst doing this, also…

Come back into your body

Connect with your physical body. Trying doing light exercises, yoga, dynamic stretching and deep breathing whilst maintaining positive and self-dignified postures. By doing so, you are acknowledging your thoughts and feelings, being aware that you can’t control it but whilst doing so taking control over of your physical actions.

As you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, com back in your body, also …

Engage in what you’re doing

Be present in the moment, exercise mindfulness with your surrounding and refocus your attention on the activity you are doing. Simple ways of doing so is through looking around the room and paying attention to the intricate details and colours of every object you see. Pay attention to your surroundings through listening mindfully to every sound you can hear. Give your full attention to the task or activity at hand, including your revision notes and revision materials and support provided to you in preparation for your exam ahead.

Committed Action

Take action which are guided by your core values. Ask yourself the questions as to why you are sitting your exam? Why is your exam so important to you? What will be the end goal of passing your exam? The coronavirus has created a single obstacle for you but you have been facing obstacles your entire life but action has also been consistently taking place even when you have had feelings of negativity and anxiety. What can you do to overcome these feelings? Perhaps help a family member or neighbour who requires assistance or exercise kind words to somebody in distress either in person or via text.  

Opening Up

Make room for difficult feeling and be kind to yourself. As the crises unfolds, you will no doubt have a rollercoaster of feelings. Fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration and many more. These are all normal. If somebody else was feeling this way, how would you treat them? What would you say to them? Use these answers to guide your thought process in overcoming these difficult emotions.


Committed action should be guided by your core values. What values mean most to you? Courage, honesty, humour, patience? Write a list down and remind yourself of your core values. Let them guide you and motivate you towards continuing to prepare you for your exam.

Identify resources

Identify resources for help, assistance, support and advice. This includes friends, family, neighbours, health professionals and emergency services. As far as your exam goes, PassPharma have prepared an online portal to provide you with all the resources you need to help you in preparation with your exam. From revision notes, detailed notes, shared group platforms, blogs all the way to clinical and calculation questions – all the support you need for your exam is available on one platform which can be accessed from the comfort of your own home!

Disinfect and distance physically

I’m sure this goes without saying but disinfect your hands regularly by following advised hygiene protocols as well using social distancing guidelines as issued by the government. Do not allow yourself to be cut off emotionally and use the advice given in this blog in preparation for your exam ahead.

PassPharma will be working closely with clinical psychologists to ensure that your preparation for your exam is optimised. We have a commitment to our students and will be with you every step of way during these challenging times. Together, we will overcome the corona crisis and together, we will assist in helping you to pass your exam.   

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