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5 Ways How to Deal With Stress During Exams


Approaching the problem of stress that a person encounters during college exams, you should realize that it’s natural to feel this way. Even when you do all the reading and try to remember each rule, some anxiety will always remain. You have to learn how to manage your time first and get over the initial panic that we all sense as the exam starts. Do your best to prepare for the exams by changing your attitude to one where the fear of failure doesn’t seem like the end of the world. Each test that you pass must be approached as a stage where you master relevant concepts, not fight for the best grade only. Once you focus on the learning process and implement helpful stress management tips, you will instantly discover the most efficient solutions.

5 Ways How to Deal With Stress During Exams

  1. Explore Exam Structure & Similar Test Training Materials

The majority of stress and anxiety during exams comes from the lack of proper preparation, as we receive far from what we expect as we read through our notes and the books. The trick here is to take your time to explore various online tools and free courses that may help you to polish your knowledge on the topic. Just enter your subject’s line as you visit Coursera or Khan Academy. There are many free courses that take hours or even a few days that can help you to polish your skills. For example, getting ready to pass your nursing exam, focusing on the key elements of your topic, and seeking similar exams published online is the way to go. These may contain a list of possible questions with answers and explanations. Even though these will relate to the past exams, this kind of research will help you to overcome the initial fear of the unknown.

Likewise, being an exchange ESL student, focus on practicing your grammar with various tools like Grammarly or Hemingway App where you can get your text checked.  Practice some writing, copy your past assignments, and spend time correcting your mistakes. Don’t forget to check free exam templates at Quizlet. Enter some keywords related to an upcoming exam and get some free training with explanations. Once you get yourself busy before the exam, it will help you to channel your energy correctly and release the hormones of stress.

  1. Abstract Yourself From The Fear & Stress


Before you claim that it’s not possible to abstract yourself completely, it’s good to know that special practices like meditation and freewriting can be of good help as you have minutes left before your exam. If you have not tried meditation or yoga before, it’s good to practice breathing gymnastics instead as you keep your heartbeat normalized by focusing on positive thoughts. Make sure that you keep yourself hydrated before the exam as your brain will need this kind of support.

As you get ready, think about playing some music that you like because music helps students with stress as they can focus on rhythmic patterns that allow them to relax and repeat the words or hum the melody just like a mantra as they listen. Assure yourself that there might be tasks that may frighten you, yet the trick here is to ask questions. Alternatively, imagine that you are approaching the exam instructions as if you are helping your close friend. Abstract yourself from being the one who has to solve it and let your mind work at it as an observer.

Likewise, if you have a favorite book that you truly love, think about it, imagine yourself as a mighty character who can overcome it all, and quote your beloved lines in your head as it will help you to relax and overcome that initial state of panic that we all get as we have to start writing.

  1. Approach Your Exam Instructions Differently

The majority of exam instructions and questions already have certain hints or even parts of the answers that will provide you with guidance. The little trick here is applying so-called “reverse-engineering” where you read your questions from the end to the very beginning. It remains true even for most complex tasks because once you know the task’s objectives, things become clear. Focus on numbers, arguments, dates, and little details that will relate to what kind of writing you have to do. It will help you to form a certain structure as you approach your exam.

When you have a list of questions with multiple answers, read each question twice and compare each answer with the question to see which one makes sense. Take mental notes regarding wording and the way how a sentence is structured. If it sounds right to you, think about the reasons and rules that make you think so. It will help you to stay in a clear state of mind and decrease the stress as you make your final choice. Never hurry to make impulse choices but always search for some connection between the right option and the question.

If there are certain questions or parts of your instruction that feel unclear, don’t be shy and ask questions (if it’s permitted!). If you get stuck with some problem or a section of your exam, proceed with other assignments and return to those unclear parts later to save yourself time and nerves. Avoid delays at all costs! Keep your brain busy and focused all the time. This way you won’t let the stress get through!

  1. No Task Is Too Complex For Me Trick.


Contrary to a popular belief, far not every task that you encounter during exams is as complex as it may seem. Even as you take a quick look at their structure, things may seem rather difficult! Don’t let it frighten you because you can always divide large bits into smaller chunks and start with those parts that you can understand. A good solution to address confusion and stress with those complex tasks is making a checklist for yourself. You must define what kind of writing is required, set your thesis statement, a number of paragraphs, and try your best to estimate how much content goes for each part. While it may seem time-consuming, it will actually help you save time as you turn to analysis and set your priorities correctly!

If you have an opportunity to do so, take mental or written notes where you write down the main arguments for your exam if it involves a written assignment. Those exams that include some listening should be addressed with the help of notes as well as you can write down the terms you could remember. Once ready, think about an inspiring line that you have to provide at the start, and remember to follow the structure that you have been provided. Following the basic rules helps to narrow things down so you do not feel overly stressed as you try to capture it all at once.

Most importantly, do not overdo things by trying too hard as correct answers usually appear much simpler in the end. Keep things short and to the point as you work on your exam and you will achieve far greater success as you keep yourself in control.


  1. Proofreading & Editing Matters.


The stress that we endure during exams often forces us to either pay mediocre attention to proofreading and editing or ignore it completely. It’s believed that proofreading represents that minor aspect that won’t affect the final grade. It is the wrong way to approach your exams! Always take your time to proofread and edit your paper at least once because it will help to fix grammar and spelling mistakes. It won’t take you more than five minutes to scan through the typed text for a standard exam assignment, yet it will make you feel confident and less stressed about being accurate!

Speaking of proofreading,  it makes it possible to check against your exam’s rubric to ensure that no important parts and writing requirements have been missed. Check for numbers, your name, dates, formatting, headers, and a number of sources. If there are some unique names or places involved, check the spelling, too.

If proofreading and editing tasks sound stressful, you will require an example with corrections so you can compare things first and see what has been changed or edited. As a great solution, you may read about various academic services to find a safe option! When you learn how to structure your text as you edit, it will help you to avoid spending time for additional checking during the exam and avoid that sense of anxiety as you submit your paper. As a rule, it will decrease your stress levels and make you feel more confident!

Keeping Yourself Fit Decreases The Stress

One of the best ways to deal with stress during exams is to get yourself ready to fight the stress in advance by making it a part of your daily schedule. Essentially, if you manage to keep yourself fit, your cognitive functions will improve as well. It means that even some basic stretching exercises or taking a walk through the park will help to keep you always inspired and refreshed. As your brain gets a fresh supply of oxygen and your system releases toxins, your body automatically lets the stress out. Do some stretching, dance to music in your room, or take time to cook something unusual. Having fun will help you to relax and focus on something else that requires attention. This way you will build a solid protective shield to withstand the stress during exams.

Author’s Bio

Joanne Eliot is an experienced mentor for college students. She makes students’ study process easier by writing a review on best writing services on LetsGradeIt. She has written articles on student fitness and health throughout her career. She is expert in her sphere with many practical and theoretical bits of knowledge.