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6 Tips for Dealing with Exam Stress

The final exam period is understandably a stressful time for students of all levels, but there are a few things you can do before you start studying to avoid feeling so overwhelmed. These six tips will help you avoid stress so you can do your best on all your exams.

Learn Your Learning Style

Everyone studies in a different way and what works for your friend might not work for you. A great way to reduce your exam anxiety is to revise in a way that’s suited to your learning style. Some people study most effectively in groups where they can talk through the material together and quiz each other. Some people get anxious when studying with other people and prefer to review on their own. There are endless ways to study including flashcards, rewatching lectures and doing practice tests. Once you’ve figured out what techniques are most effective for you, stick with them so you can use your time efficiently.

Prioritize Your Time

Before exam period starts, determine which topics you need to review for each exam and figure out what day you need to start revising to cover them all. Then make yourself a study schedule, breaking it down in detail day by day. Plan to review the harder topics early on so you have more time to go over them. Be realistic about how much you can study each day when allocating your time or you will only add to your stress. Work through your schedule checking off topics as you master them. Having a study plan will make all the material you have to review seem more manageable and ensure you don’t forget to review a crucial topic.

Take Breaks

When making your study schedule make sure to factor in some time for breaks. It’s very difficult to sustain your concentration for hours at a time so when you find your mind wandering it’s probably a sign you need a short break. Try to take a 10-minute break after every hour of studying. Use these breaks as an opportunity to get away from your desk and stretch your legs.

Stay Healthy

The only thing more stressful than writing an exam is writing an exam when you’re sick. While you can’t protect yourself from every germ, there are some easy things you can do to increase your chances of staying healthy during exam time. These include eating well and limiting your caffeine intake. Sugary snacks will give you a quick burst of energy, but it won’t last the day. Same with the caffeine, too much will only add to your feelings of anxiety. Plus it will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, something that is far more beneficial than pulling an all-nighter.


Taking time out from studying to exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing, but there’s a reason exercise is a classic stress reliever. Physical activity is a great way to clear your mind and boost your mood. It’s also another important way to keep yourself healthy during exam time. After just 20 minutes of exercise, you can hit the books with renewed focus.

Talk to Someone

There’s no prize for suffering through exam stress alone. Talking to a friend, significant other, family member, or advisor when you’re feeling really worried can be a huge help. In addition to support, they might also be able to offer study strategies or practical advice to help you feel more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to speak to a professional or the mental health services at your university if you are concerned about your mental health during exam season or at any point in the year.

Good luck with your exams!

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