Study Skills Support – Exam Stress

In a previous exam blog, we looked at practical tips and techniques that can help you at exam time. This time we will look at how to do deal with exam stress.

Firstly, it is important to reiterate that practical, positive action can help to minimise the stress you might feel at exam time. Those steps include: planning your study time well, understanding how you revise and remember, staying healthy, getting enough sleep, getting to the exam hall in time, reading the question carefully and planning your answer well.

website icon

Even if you have taken any number of positive steps you might still experience stress. What else can we do to minimise the stress we feel?

This may appear a flippant point but it is important to remember that your exams are just one part of your life and although important, we shouldn’t let them dominate us. So reframing things this way might help alleviate some of the stress you feel.

Rewards or the anticipation of rewards make us feel happy, therefore plan a reward for after your exams (or during your study time)-this may spur you on to achieve more.

Knowing how to relax is an important skill throughout life, not just at exam times and there are various ways you can do this. You may have your own techniques that work well, if not try some of these techniques. These can be used during your revision or during the exam itself:

  • Breathe! It might sound like the most simplified suggestion but during stressful times we might not breathe properly. Taking long deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth) will calm you down and help your perform better. If you consciously focus on your breathing it also takes your mind off other distractions. Try it now…breathe in through your nose….and out through your mouth. Focus only on your breathing and soon you will feel far more relaxed.
  • ‘Anchoring’ technique. This is a simple technique made popular with the rise of NLP where you mentally transport yourself back to a time when you were deeply relaxed. You can then ‘anchor’ this feeling (by pressing 2 fingers together) so that you can bring the feeling back whenever you need it.
  • Self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is simply a natural state of relaxation. You can find a good guide here- or alternatively, try YouTube and let someone else do it for you!

book icon

It is important to find the best technique for you, but it is always worth exploring new ways just in case you find one that works better than the others you use.


Don’t forget that the library and study skills support teams are here to help too.

To book a support session visit the library website: One to One Support



You may also like...