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7 top tips to get exam stress under control

reduce exam stress

A bit of pressure can be good thing when it comes to exams. It makes sure that you knuckle down and get all the studying done and prepare well for your exam. But when the stress of the upcoming exam starts to interfere with your everyday life or even your health, you need to do something to reduce your exam stress.

There are certain signs that stress is getting out of hand; here are some of them.

Signs of Overwhelming Exam Stress

  • Constant tiredness
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines, headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Hopelessness about the future

If you experience these types of symptoms regularly, and especially in the run-up to exams, you need to take measures to reduce your exam stress.

Tips to reduce exam stress

  • Have a revision timetable – stick to it as much as possible but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a session or two.
  • Reign in your perfectionism – nobody (literally nobody) is perfect. We all do the best we can, and that is all anyone can ask of you.
  • Keep things in perspective – when negative thoughts overtake your mind, take a deep breath and think of something positive instead. Challenge irrational thoughts and believe in yourself.
  • What can you do to overcome problems – talk to your classmates or your subject tutor if you’re not sure about a topic.
  • Take short breaks to keep your mind fresh – no-one can study for hours on end. Break your study time into 25 minutes chunks and take breaks in between. Try the Pomodoro Timer online or app. This will improve your brain’s performance.
  • Exercise regularly – you might think that you don’t have time to exercise while you’re studying but it has the same effect as taking breaks during study periods. It helps your body cope better with all that mental effort.
  • Eat well – have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to fuel your body with vitamins and minerals. Your body needs extra nutrients when you’re working hard mentally. Avoid caffeine and too much sugar – both make productive thinking harder.
  • Vividly imagine the scenario of your day from getting up, getting to your exam, going in, reading the questions and answering. All with a smile on your face and imagine leaving the exam room with a feeling of satisfaction.

On the day of the exam

Now that you are well prepared, you can go into the exam with a more positive outlook. On the day of the exam, get a good night’s rest and avoid last minute cramming. You’ll only make yourself more nervous.

Arrive in plenty of time for your exam, breathe deeply and keep your mind in positive focus. Meditation and mindfulness exercises can help with this.

If you would like my complimentary mp3 audio file “3 Minute Breathing Space” to help with this, please email me.

You might also benefit from a hypnotherapy session, to put your exam nerves into perspective and programme your subconscious for success.

You can get in touch with me, Samantha Culshaw-Robinson for a complimentary introductory session. I have helped people overcoming exam nerves since 2010. You can either email me at sam@livewellpractice.co.uk or phone on 075 222 777 22.

If you would like to book in for a session, please fill in your contact details on my consultation page.


Disclaimer: As with most practices, mindfulness may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any existing mental health conditions or past trauma, you should discuss these with your GP or mental health professional and these should also be disclosed prior to enrolling in a class.

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