Keeping Calm and Carrying On: Stress Management During Exams

Exams can be a high-pressure time for students, with stress levels often reaching their peak. While a certain amount of stress can be motivating, too much can hinder performance and affect well-being. Recognizing and managing stress during this critical period is essential for success. Here’s how to navigate the turbulent waters of exam stress, ensuring you emerge not just unscathed but triumphant.

Understanding Exam Stress

Before diving into stress management techniques, it’s important to recognize the signs of stress. These can include feelings of anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach issues. Understanding that these reactions are normal can help you take proactive steps to manage them.

 Effective Stress Management Strategies

Plan and Prioritize

The cornerstone of stress management during exams is effective planning. Creating a realistic revision schedule that includes breaks and leisure time can help prevent last-minute cramming and reduce stress.

  • Action Tip
    Use a planner or app to schedule your study sessions, allocating more time to subjects or topics you find challenging.

Stay Active

Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever. It can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and enhance your energy levels, making your study sessions more productive.

  • Action Tip
    Incorporate short physical activities into your daily routine, such as a 30-minute walk, a quick yoga session, or even dancing to your favourite music.

Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can significantly reduce stress levels, helping you maintain focus and calm.

  • Action Tip
    Dedicate a few minutes each day to practices like deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Your physical health can greatly impact your stress levels and overall performance during exams. Ensuring adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals, and staying hydrated are key.

  • Action Tip
    Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and choose foods that boost brain function, such as nuts, seeds, fish, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

 Connect with Others

Isolation can amplify stress. Stay connected with friends, family, or fellow students who understand what you’re going through. Sometimes, simply sharing your worries can lighten your load.

  • Action Tip
    Organize study groups, virtual check-ins, or stress-relief sessions with peers to support each other.

Take Breaks and Reward Yourself

Regular breaks are crucial for preventing burnout. Short breaks during study sessions can improve concentration, while longer breaks can be used as rewards for achieving study goals.

  • Action Tip
    Plan enjoyable activities for your breaks, like watching an episode of your favourite show or engaging in a hobby.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to seek professional support if stress becomes overwhelming. Many schools and universities offer counselling services, and there are numerous online resources available.

  • Action Tip
    Reach out to a counsellor, mentor, or teacher if you’re struggling to manage stress on your own.


Exam time can be stressful, but it’s also an opportunity to develop and strengthen your stress management skills. By planning ahead, staying active, and seeking support when needed, you can navigate exam season with confidence. Remember, managing stress is not just about surviving your exams but thriving during them. With the right strategies in place, you can maintain your calm, focus on your goals, and achieve your academic potential.



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