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Students at most education levels must take exams. These tests become more difficult as you work through high school and into college and graduate school. If you’re struggling with a topic or have a lot of tests coming up all at once, you are likely well acquainted with exam stress. While a certain amount of stress is totally normal, too much can make it hard to stay on task. Use these simple strategies to ease that stress and you should be well on your way to breezing through those exams and moving on to what’s next. Good luck!

1. Recognize Your Stress

When you know you’re about to break, you know that the stress is getting to be too much. If you are able to recognise when things are getting out of hand, you are better able to know when you need a break or need to employ a stress relief activity. Many students don’t allow themselves to do this, which can really interfere with getting good grades on your exams. Knowing when stress is about to do you in a valuable skill to have as a student.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

You might think that your fellow students are handling their stress really well and are nowhere near as freaked out as you are. Nothing could be further from the truth. All students face some degree of stress when exam time comes around. Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own situation. Worrying about what’s going on with your classmates will only add to your stress and make the whole situation even worse.

3. Eat the Right Foods

Junk food might be fast and easy, but it can really take a toll on your health. On the other hand, if you’re fuelling your body with the right foods, your brain is in a better state of mind for focusing on your exams. Make sure to start each day with a healthy breakfast and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Whole grains satisfy appetite and give your brain fuel. You also want to be sure you’re getting enough protein, from lean meats, beans and low-fat dairy foods, to keep your body and brain working as it should.

4. Get Enough Sleep

You can’t study properly if you are lacking in sleep. It might seem like you don’t have to time to go to bed, but if you get some rest, you are better able to tackle the topics you’re studying and prepare yourself for your upcoming exams. Ideally, you should be getting 7 to 9 hours each night, but something is always better than nothing. You’ll be surprised at how much more effective your study sessions are when you aren’t sleep deprived.

5. Get Moving

Nothing is better for easing a stressed brain than exercise. Make a point of building some workouts into your day and your brain will be refreshed and fuelled to study afterward. Anything that gets your heart pumping works, including running, biking, dancing and organized sports.

6. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is pretty well known for lowering inhibitions and making it hard to make a good judgement call. If you’re trying to pass exams, it’s probably best to forgo the liquor until after the tests are over. Drinking too much can make it very hard to focus on your studies and may make you toss in the towel before you’re really ready to pass the exam.

7. Take a Break

You might feel like you have to cram every minute with studying, but that’s actually a sure-fire way to doom yourself. Your brain and body need a break every couple of hours to recharge so you can come back to the material fresh and ready to get started again. Go for a walk, call a friend or have a meal and let yourself rest before you get back to it.


Studying for exams is a stressful thing, but you can take control and ensure that you get the grades you want without going crazy in the process. Create a study plan that allows you to take breaks, eat meals and get some sleep and you’re well on your way to getting top marks on all of your tests.