Reducing Exam Stress

Be prepared
It is crucial that you know the material you are going to be tested on to reduce the exam stress.

Keep your goals realistic
Aim for something you can achieve in the exam and work towards it. Do not let fears overwhelm your performance, and remember that your entire future does not depend on this exam.

Manage your time well
Avoid cramming at the last moment before the exam. Memorizing a lot of material at the last minute will affect your ability to recall all the information. Divide your studying on an appropriate amount of time before the exam. Remember to give time for each exam in proportion for what it is worth.

Don’t think Negative
Monitor and eliminate your negative thoughts. Build your confidence by rational thinking, by focusing on your capabilities rather than worrying about the things you cannot do.

Stay in the present
Do not worry about the future: how difficult the exam will be, what will happen if you had more time to study, how bad you will score. These are things out of your control. Focus on what you can control now, by studying, thinking positively, and relaxing.

Know what to expect
Try to figure out while studying which information are most likely to be in the exam. You can make this guess by judging the importance of the information, and by using hints that the instructor might have dropped in class. Coming across familiar question will decrease your stress during the exam.

Take care of your physical health
Because while studying we focus on mental activities, we often tend to forget to give our body a chance to rest. Make sure to eat and sleep properly, for your body not to worn down. Also, manage your sugar and caffeine intake, as both can increase your stress levels.

Do not change your routine
Many tend to pull over-nights before exams to have more time to study. However, changing your sleeping pattern or diet during exam periods will exhaust your body by taking it out of its comfort zone. Try to manage your time and stick with your usual routine.

Anxiety is a normal response that we have in stressful situations. However, it is important to know how to manage it and prevent it from overwhelming you. Learn some relaxation techniques that you can use before or during the exam, like deep breathing. It will help you calm yourself.

Arrive early
Do not stress yourself more by rushing to the exam. Plan to arrive early during the day of the exam, and give yourself enough time to relax before being tested.


  • MacEwan University,. (2014). 10 Tips for Reducing Exam Stress. Retrieved 23 July 2014
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