THE secret to beating exam stress is to think like an Olympic champion.

That’s the advice of Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover gave to girls at Westonbirt School as they prepare for their AS-levels and GCSEs.

“What has been important to me, and you can apply it to exams, is the relationship between your physiology, mental and emotional levels,” said Helen, pictured (left) with fellow gold medallist Heather Stanning and Year 9 Westonbirt pupil India Ross from Chedworth.

“You can feel calmer through your breathing which helps you think clearer and then helps you control those emotions.”

She knows all about nerves. Along with rower partner Heather Stanning, they made history when they became the first female rowers to win an Olympic gold medal.

The pair were special guests at a public talk at the Tetbury school. They explained their meteoric four-year journey starting with training at University of Bath and ending on the Olympic podium at London 2012.

In the past year, Heather, who is a Captain in the Royal Artillery Regiment, served a military tour of Afghanistan.

Now both women are focussing on the Rio Olympics to defend their title. ‘We’ve had a great year of doing something different,” said Heather. “We don’t take for granted what we did last time.”

The pair spent almost an hour signing autographs and posing for pictures with the pupils.

“They are such an inspiration. There was a real buzz around the school about their visit,” said head teacher Natasha Dangerfield. “They were the perfect motivational speakers on the eve of exams.”