Despite international and national guidelines, poor asthma control remains an issue. Asthma exacerbations are costly to both the individual, and the healthcare provider. Improvements in our understanding of the therapeutic benefit of asthma therapies suggest that, in general, while long-acting bronchodilator therapy improves asthma symptoms, the anti-inflammatory activity of inhaled corticosteroids reduces acute asthma exacerbations. Studies have explored factors which could be predictive of exacerbations. A history of previous exacerbations, poor asthma control, poor inhaler technique, a history of lower respiratory tract infections, poor adherence to medication, the presence of allergic rhinitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, psychological dysfunction, smoking and obesity have all been implicated as having a predictive role in the future risk of asthma exacerbation. Here we review the current literature and discuss this in the context of primary care management of asthma.