Experiencing some anxiety before exams is normal. If, however, the thoughts are persistent and start to interfere with your life, it may be time to do something about them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a way of exploring how people think about themselves, the world and other people and how this is influenced by the way we interpret our experiences. It can be a very useful way to begin to understand anxiety, especially as it is often possible to do a lot through self-help.
There are many books and websites which can help. For example, Mind Over Mood, by Christine Padesky and Denis Greenberg (Guilford Press) is a workbook with a step by step programme to help people understand themselves and make changes. Or see Overcoming Anxiety, by Helen Kennerley (Robinson).
Mindfulness is an approach which involves paying attention to thoughts, experiences and bodily sensations to increase the ability to focus on the present and manage difficult thoughts.
There is an introductory podcast available or you can also read Mindfulness: an eight-week plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Mark Williams and Danny Penman (Piatkus)
Meditation can also be helpful as a way of learning to focus thoughts on what is happening in the present and can help to calm the mind. Meditation courses are often run by Buddhist centres, but it is not necessary to learn deeply about Buddhist philosophy in order to gain from meditation.
In Nottingham, regular courses and a drop-in suitable for beginners are run by the Nottingham Buddhist Centre
Moodgym is a free, online CBT programme that helps you work through CBT exercises on your own.