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Exam Stress

Stress is a normal part of life.  Some situations, like exams, are more stressful than others.  It’s what you do about it that makes a difference to your well-being.

*Mind goes blank…Three pencils

*Sweaty palms…

*Butterflies in stomach…

*Fidgety feet from caffeine overload…

*Bloodshot eyes from cramming all night…

Does any of these sound familiar?  

Here are some tips to help you manage exam stress:

  • Create a schedule – Be realistic and put what you need to do down on paper.  This will help you manage your time and will allow yourself enough time to review the material you need to cover.  Don’t forget to schedule some relaxation time!
  • Ask yourself – Do you study better early in the morning or later at night?  Once you get a better idea of your ideal time to study make a plan to tackle your most difficult subjects during this time.
  • How do you learn?- Do you remember things best when you hear them? Read about them? Visualize them? Write them down? Try and use the method that works best for your type of learning.
  • Study space – Don’t let yourself become distracted!  Put your phone away! Create a separate study space away from distractions.
  • Healthy eating choices – Choose nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables and remember to drink lots of WATER!
  • Caffeine Buzz – While caffeine can give a boost in the short term, too much can negatively affect your sleep and cause you to feel anxious.  Try and find a balance between caffeinated beverages and good old WATER!
  • Exercise – Physical activity, even in small amounts, helps get rid of stress.  10 or 20 minutes of being active can clear your head and help you study.
  • Take Breaks – For every 50 minutes of study, spend 10 minutes moving around.  Stretch, get up and grab a glass of WATER or a snack and this will help you come back refreshed.
  • Reward yourself – No!  Seriously! After a solid study session, reward yourself with some down time.  Try not to forget you have a life outside of school.  Try and find a balance. Remind yourself that you have earned a break and by taking one you will feel more rejuvenated for your next study session.

These tips were adapted from the Exam Stress brochure developed by Winnipeg Regional Health Authority 2006 with permission.