How to stay calm and focused during exams (5 Tips for coping with exam stress)

Exams are a standard part of the academic process and can be a useful way to measure what you have learned and your progress. However, exams can also be a source of stress for many students of all ages.

The pressure to perform well on exams can be intense, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. At the same time, it is important to remember that exams are just one part of your overall academic journey. Here are some steps you can take to manage exam stress and perform to the best of your ability.

  1. Plan ahead and start studying early: One of the most effective ways to manage exam stress is to create a study plan and stick to it. This means setting aside specific times each day or week to study, and breaking down your study sessions into manageable chunks. Don’t leave all of your studying for the last minute. Instead, try to spread out your studying over a longer period of time. This will allow you to better retain the information and feel more prepared on the day of the exam. However, remember that it’s never too late! Every little bit of study you do will help on the day.
  2. Stay organised: It can also be helpful to create a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete each day, and to prioritise your study tasks based on their importance and deadlines. Make sure to allocate enough time for each subject and take breaks when you need them. Keep your study materials organised and in a designated study space. Staying organised and focused can help to reduce anxiety and improve your performance in the exams.
  3. Take care of your physical health: Exam stress can take a toll on your body, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and stay hydrated. Exercise can also be a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all great ways to calm your mind and reduce stress. You could try listening to calming music or going for a walk to clear your head. It is also important to find time to relax and do things you enjoy, as this can help to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
  5. Seek support: If you are feeling overwhelmed by exam stress, it can be helpful to talk to someone about your feelings. This might be a friend, family member, guidance counsellor or a mental health professional such as an Occupational Therapist. Sharing your concerns and getting support can help to reduce stress and give you a sense of perspective.

Finally, it is normal to feel some level of stress during exam season. Remember that your worth as a person is not determined by your exam performance. Rather than trying to eliminate stress completely, think about ways to manage it in a healthy way. Try to keep things in perspective and focus on the things that you can control, such as your preparation and effort. By taking these steps, you can set yourself up for success in exams and maintain your overall well-being.