Apply as a tutor to teach students online from anywhere in the world.


Apply as a tutor to teach students online from anywhere in the world.


How Can Students Deal With Exam Stress?

deal with exam stress

It is a global and natural phenomenon to panic about your exams. Stress is easily defined as the body’s natural response to burden. Although a low level of stress helps with concentration and motivation, it is often too much to bear for students, especially at higher grades.

Here are just some of the ways how exam stress shows up. Students can:

  • Feel unhealthy, such as being exhausted, getting sick, or getting headaches.
  • Feel upset or anxious.
  • Feel unable to concentrate.
  • Feel angry or irritable.
  • Lose interest in favorite hobbies.
  • Unable to fall asleep.
  • Be anxious about the future.
  • Observe changes in their eating habits.
  • Think negative thoughts about themselves.

Since this is not a complete list, students can also experience some other stress symptoms as well. All students are unique and respond to pressure differently. If you observe any of the above symptoms or fear that the exam burden is ruining your life, you are not the only student! The next section will explain tips to deal with exam stress:

Coping with Exam Burden

The pressure to score well can overwhelm anyone and only add more burden of exams. This could be a burden from your peers, school, self-induced, or family. The pressure can either start to hit you way before the exam date or right when on the exam day.

Usually, students do not communicate about these burdens. Even if the surrounding people are not putting a burden on you, you still may want to perform well to make everyone proud on the results day. But keep in mind that regardless of your results, you won’t be disappointing anyone.

Here are three foolproof tips to ease the burden:

  • Share how you are feeling under pressure

If the surrounding people, such as your family and peers, are putting a burden on your shoulders, tell them that their expectations are unrealistic. In addition, share your realistic expectations with them and how you are working to achieve them. You can also confide in your teacher to communicate how your family is pressuring you.

  • Be kind to yourself

Never forget all the academic wins in your life. Look back and feel happy about whatever you have accomplished so far, not necessarily in school. You could write a list of all the features you appreciate about yourself and the stuff others find valuable in you. Improve your self-confidence by investing time in your favorite hobbies and interests.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others

Do not find out how your peers are preparing for exams. Focus on what you can easily do instead. Students often believe that their peers are revising more or are not overwhelmed like they are. Even if that’s true, it’s okay because we are all different. 

How to Deal with Exam Stress

Exam stress is like a heavy weight that depresses you. Luckily, you are not alone. Many students find exams hard, and they seek help from nearby resources. Even simply talking it out with someone can help. You will feel inspired and supported. There is no need to deal with exam stress alone. Share with a teacher, friend, parent, or family member.

In the lead-up to your exams

Read the following tips to know how to cope with your approaching exams:

  • Demand any practical help you need

Every student could use some practical help from their private tutors. For instance, it could be supported with:

  • Access arrangements.
  • A subject or topic you are weak in.
  • A quiet place to revise.
  • Advice for revision.
  • Balancing multiple subjects.

While you may feel nervous reaching out for help, keep in mind that teachers are already handling so many students who ask for such requests. All schools want their students to pass exams and are willing to offer any necessary support.

  • Believe in yourself

Whenever we are struck with new challenges, we tend to forget the struggles we faced and all the achievements we have done so far. As long as your exam preparation is solid, there is no genuine reason to panic. Hence, when you feel upset, switch to a positive thought. For instance, instead of thinking, ‘If I don’t meet my goals, I am a failure,’ think, ‘Whatever I achieve, I will go easy on myself and appreciate all that I have achieved so far.’

  • Don't revise on your own

A 2004 research paper published in Linguistics and Education revealed that revising with other students is a great method. This allows your brain to retain notes better. What’s more, the emotional support given by peers improves confidence and freedom in learning.

  • Have a good eating, sleeping, and exercising routine

Barely moving all day by being stuck in a sitting position, running on minimal food, and pulling all-nighters won’t help you to study better. It develops anxiety instead. So, if you want your body to perform well, exercise or stretch for at least half an hour, sleep for 8 to 9 hours, eat sufficient slow-release carbs and drink more water rather than caffeine.

  • Find a study group or make one

Study groups are great because students sort out problems and tackle tough subjects together. This is a nice idea for maintaining a social life and mental health. But most importantly, study groups make you realize that you are not alone.

  • Request for access arrangements if you require any

Students come with their own needs. Access arrangements help disabled or special education needs (SEN) students. Some examples are:

  1. Breaks between exams.
  2. Assistive technology, like text-to-speech software.
  3. Additional time to complete an exam.

Reach out to your university, college, or school to know how to apply for access arrangements. Some of these can be offered by the school, but others might require permission from the examining body. Therefore, talk to your school at the earliest.

  • Pace yourself through panic

Students often panic before, during, or even after exams. If you are a victim of panic, drink water, take six deep breaths, and then go back to the topic at hand. Keep in mind that every problem comes with a solution, even if it is hidden at first glance.

  • Set realistic goals

Whether you have weeks, hours, or days before an exam, establish realistic goals that can be achieved. This makes sense for everything. Embrace your particular situation and work however much is possible. This improves productivity without tiring yourself out.

  • Be updated on your friends

If your friends are preparing for exams too, they must know what you are going through. When you know your friends are feeling exactly like you, it can make a huge difference. You can do something fun with them during breaks or share anything related to school.

When Exams Start

When exam season is finally here, follow these tips:

  • Be organized the night before

Get hold of everything you need for exams the night before. Suppose you need to travel somewhere to take the exam, confirm how to get there and when it will start. Remember to start your travel early so that you can reach there before the exam starts. Keep another reliable person on duty to guarantee that you have everything. 

  • Reward yourself

Students should have something they look forward to after taking a number of difficult exams. This can be a long period of rest, a hangout with friends, or going on a trip. 

  • Follow some relaxation methods

Try not to cram everything in at the final revision. This will add to your belief that your preparation is not sufficient and make you overwhelmed. Remain calm and collected instead. Follow grounding techniques and breathing exercises.

  • Never compare your answers

Students are highly tempted to discuss their answers with their peers right after coming out of the exam room. But doing so will add to your stress. Tell yourself that the exam is over, so no use talking about it now.

Life Doesn't Revolve Around Exams

No student’s life includes school only. We have our family, friends, and more stuff. Tough things occur in exam season that make it difficult to study. It is okay if you lack focus, passion, space, or time.

Here are some cases:

  1. Breaking up with a partner.
  2. Shifting school or home.
  3. Getting on a new medication.
  4. Loss or grief.
  5. Physical or mental health issues.
  6. Friendship or family issues.
  7. Bullying
  8. Serving as a young carer.

If you face any of these situations or something else, speak up about how it is making it tough to be prepared for exams. 

The Importance of Self-care in Exams

‘Self-care’ is an overused phrase in the mainstream media, but do you know what it actually means? In simple words, it is the little things we do to care for our mental health.

While exams are approaching, students rarely have time for self-care as they invest all their time in revision. While the latter has its own importance, revision gets harder if you are ignoring yourself. Maintain a good diet and sleep schedule. At the end of the day, catch up with your friends or watch something fun. Remember that you deserve breaks to unwind.

Final Words

So, what do you think about our expertise in dealing with exam stress? We hope our tips helped you and that you are feeling confident to take any exam now. Best of luck!

Find Top Tutors in Your Area

Find A Tutor

With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at]