Tips And Tricks To Beat Exam Stress!


Your chest is tight, your palms are sweating, and you feel like your stomach is turning inside out. For many students, this is what exam stress may look like. There are many different reasons why stressful exams could have physical and mental effects on your body and mind. Suffice it to say that these kinds of reactions are neither healthy nor desirable. 


So, let’s see how we can help you reduce stress from studying and minimize exam stress when you sit for your next test. 



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What is Exam Stress and What are the Symptoms? 


Before we find solutions, let’s first help to understand whether or not what you’re feeling is exam stress or not. We’re not doctors, so don’t consider any of the following to be any type of medical advice. Instead, we’re compiling what students have felt and done in order to beat exam stress. 


First things first, some symptoms of stress may include:


  • Feeling confused 
  • Little motivation 
  • Tense muscles
  • Headaches 
  • Upset stomach 
  • Fidgeting 
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nail-biting 
  • Inability to make decisions 
  • Feeling irritable 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 



How to Reduce Stress from Studying


To be the best prepared before exam day, you’re likely going to need to spend some time studying. The amount of time you need to study will depend on how much information you already understand versus how much more you need to know for the test. 


There are some things you can do to reduce stress from studying.


Let’s take a look at what they involve: 



Time management


One of the most important skills you can hone as a student (and even a working professional) is time management. 


Like the term implies, this is how you manage your time. It begins by first listing what you have to get done (for exams, this may include practice problems you want to solve, practice tests you can take in advance, textbook chapters you may have to read, vocabulary words you have to study, etc.). 


Then, based on how many days you have until the exam and the amount of information you have to get through, you can work backwards to allocate how much time per day you need to spend studying. Set up a plan in advance to avoid waiting until the night before the test to cram it all in. 



Reduce social media time 


Social media and other distractions eat away at your study and concentration time. In the days leading up to an exam, try to reduce your time on these apps because you are losing time to study. 


Additionally, if you’re logging on to scroll through social media before bedtime, it may affect the quality of your sleep. 





While exercising isn’t going to fill your brain with the information you need for the exam, it will help you alleviate stress and boost endorphins (the happy chemicals in your body). Exercising can also aid in sleep regulation, so you will be more well-rested and better focused when you’re ready to study again. 



Ask for help 


If you are having difficulty understanding any topics, reach out for help. You can rely on office hours at school, teacher’s assistants, peer study groups, friends, and family. You may also want to check out online educational resources that could provide you with the answers you seek. 



Take breaks 


No matter how efficient you are when studying, you won’t want to burn out. It’s important to remember to take study breaks. One way you can do this while maintaining efficiency is to time yourself and practice the Pomodoro Technique. 


Essentially, you study for 25 minutes at a time, and then break for 5 minutes (these intervals are known as pomodoros). Once you hit about four pomodoros, then reward yourself with an even longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. 



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Tips for Exam Day 


So, you’ve done all you can before exam time to minimize stress from studying. But now you need to minimize exam stress. 


There are a few techniques you can try to steady your heartbeat and keep your mind focused on the task at hand, rather than getting lost in anxious thoughts.



Deep breaths 


Conscious breathing helps to remove stored-up energy through the body and increase oxygen flow. With more oxygen, your body is more alert. Of course, you don’t have to think about breathing on a regular basis because it happens subconsciously. But in times when you feel stressed or tight in the chest, becoming aware of your breath and being mindful can have stress-reducing effects immediately. 



Practice positive thinking 


There’s a common train of thought tied to the idea of “fake it until you make it.” Your thoughts affect your actions and outlook. When you think negatively, you will notice negative events more than positive ones. If you believe in yourself and practice speaking positively inside your head, you will be able to boost your motivation and perform at your peak levels. 


Now, that’s not to say you can avoid studying and imagine yourself getting an A without preparation. You still have to put in the necessary work. 



Drink water 


Instead of sipping on an energy drink that can heighten your nerves, drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling replenished and provide you with the energy you need to stay focused during an exam. 



Beating Exam Stress is Possible


With the right preparation and methods, you can take exam stress into your own hands and work to overcome it. While it’s always important to do your best, an exam isn’t going to make or break your entire life. So, remember to keep it in perspective and plan ahead so that you can maximize your efforts while minimizing your stress levels. 



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