Stress Busters for Exams

“Stress affects everyone, but learn how to handle it and it will start working for you.”

Managing Exam Stress

Test-taking anxiety or stress is very common in high school and university. It can be very distressing and sometimes debilitating. You might find that you get good course grades but come exam time your grades drop. This could be because of either poor exam preparation techniques and/or stress levels becoming too high.

Stress is neither negative nor positive. It is our body’s normal response to challenge, threat or excitement. The stress response is only a problem if it happens too often, too long or too strong. It would be a mistake to get rid of all stress during exam time, because it is useful and necessary for you to perform at your best level. But in order to use it to your advantage you need to:

  • Learn about Test-taking anxiety
  • Develop New ways of responding to stress
  • Experience relaxation techniques
  • Improve attention and focus on Exams
  • Review Larry’s Top Ten Stress Buster Tips


1. Be Realistic: Look at what you can do in the time available. It’s better to focus on what you can achieve well in the time you have left, than trying to do the impossible.

2. Have Positive Expectations: Focusing on the negative only increases stress and anxiety and stops you from doing your best.

3. Don’t Look Too Far Ahead: Stress accelerates when you take a scary thought and run with it i.e. imagining that you’ll fail and that will make you a total failure for the rest of your life. Live in the present

4. Give Yourself a Break: Literally and figuratively. While it’s important to prepare, it’s more important to get the right work/life balance.

5. Eat Properly: If you feel sleepy, lethargic, anxious or stressed, you need to change your diet for the better.

6. Exercise: It oxygenates our brains, sweeps out the cobwebs, and gets us thinking straight. Exercise is very important as it is proven to improve memory and concentration while reducing the physical effects of stress and preventing depression.

7. Remind Yourself That Your In Control of Your Life: You may have to take exams but its your choice how well you do in them.

8. Work On Your Time Management Skills: Often stress accelerates when you haven’t divided your time effectively.

9. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: Fears and anxieties are about the unexpected – so make sure you know exactly what you are facing.

10. Don’t Let Friends Stress You Out: Especially the ones who claim not to study themselves or hint that you’re doing it all wrong.

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