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Anxious Teenage Student Sitting Examination In School Hall

Tame your stress before an exam

Tips for students 25 October 2022

Who has never felt stress before an exam? Many students do and it’s normal. Whether it’s an exam or a test, all these events represent important stages in the school year. But where it gets less fun is when that stress paralyses you and impacts your grades.

How can you manage this anxiety and prepare yourself for these events? We decipher this phenomenon with you.

Why feel stress before an exam? 🤔

As students, we tend to associate success in an exam with success in the eyes of others. On the contrary, in our minds, failing would be perceived as a social failure with fears of disappointing family and friends but also of being judged as incompetent. Even if these fears do not reflect reality, they generate stress in the run-up to exams.

But don’t worry, stress is a normal reaction of our organism in response to a perceived danger allowing us to adapt to our environment and to the event itself. Perceived danger is very subjective and will depend on what the exam means to you.

So, is stress positive?

Stress is not necessarily negative. In fact, up to a certain level, it can even boost your performance. It all depends on the degree of stress you experience. Above a certain level, however, there is a risk that you will experience very negative effects that will impact on your schooling: attention problems, low productivity, difficulty in memorising and forgetfulness.

What can you do if this happens to you? Discover our advice on how to manage stress before and during your exams 👇

Solutions to combat your anxieties 🤜

Before the exams:

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle

During the preparation for exams, your body and mind can be put to the test. Taking care of your lifestyle is essential in reducing negative feelings related to stress. Take care of your sleep. Don’t fall into the trap of pulling all-nighters. At the time, you will feel like you are saving time, but the next day you will not be effective because of the sleep deficit. Plan your schedule for nights of up to 7 hours and listen to yourself if you feel the need to take restorative naps. Also take care of your diet by eating 3 balanced meals a day. Skipping meals is out of the question. Food is a source of energy, and you can’t afford to be short of it at this time. Focus on slow sugars to stay energised and iron-rich foods to help you remember.

  • Learn to let go

When we are stressed, we tend to dwell on and think about what is causing us anxiety. The best thing to do is to try to clear your head and focus on the present moment and stop projecting your fears. Meditation seems to be the ideal activity. Tip: To get started, some mobile applications can help you, such as Headspace. Look at it.

  • Make the most of it

There’s nothing like taking a break outside to recharge your batteries and clear your head. Do what feels good if you’re moving. By being physically active, your body will release a series of hormones that will promote a sense of well-being. This will have a calming effect on your anxiety.

  •  Learn effectively with the right tools

Not being sure that we have mastered the concepts you’re going to be assessed on is a significant source of stress. To compensate, we often tend to reread and review our lessons as often as possible. The result is that this is not effective.

Instead, use active revision methods such as using flashcards with the SCRIBZEE mobile application. You’ll be able to keep track of your progress and feel more confident as the exams approach.


During the exam:

  • Refocus on yourself

Sometimes we panic during the exam when we read the papers because we’re stressed and feel like we don’t know anything. Our fault: we get carried away and can no longer see clearly. At such times, the most important thing is to anchor yourself in the present. Use your breathing to refocus on yourself.

  • Develop positive thoughts

If you are having a moment of panic, remember that everyone has the right to make a mistake. Don’t give up and give it your best shot. You will have done your best, whatever the result. When you leave the exam, don’t compare yourself to others.


So, are you ready to try these solutions to tame your stress before the exams? If ever, despite the implementation of these solutions, stress takes up too much space in your life, don’t hesitate to ask for help from those around you by talking to your family and friends or the medical profession. Everyone needs help, don’t hesitate to ask.

We wish you good luck and don’t forget, as Georges Clémenceau said, “there is only one way to fail, it is to give up before you succeed” so believe in yourself.

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