Student Guide: How To Deal With Exam Stress

At some point, students will have to face up to exam stress, and it can really affect their wellbeing.

Even the most prepared student can suffer from anxiety and stress around exams – which you may find hard to believe.

The first thing you need to realise, is that this can happen to any person, and there is no shame in feeling that way.

We all face pressure in our lives, and you will in your future career, it’s learning how to deal with it that counts.

That’s why we’ve put together some hints and tips to help see you through and to calm those nerves going into exam season.

You’ve been working hard all year and you’ve got that great little desk and set-up at your student accommodation to help you through the task list.

Your mental health and well-being are so important, and if you feel that you need some help and want to talk to someone, it is important that you do so.

There are some fantastic student support services in each university, and we hope that the following guide will also offer you some solace and a way of approaching your exam stress in a way that is helpful and beneficial to your performance.

1. Practice Mindfulness


There are a few different apps, such as Headspace, that can help you with simple breathing exercises, guided meditation, and mindfulness techniques.

Taking a few minutes every day to step back and sit in the moment, learning how to focus on your breathing and to just ‘be’ is a great way to cope with anxiety and stress.

During a stressful exam period, this can be hugely beneficial as you learn how and when to push unhelpful thoughts out of your mind and how to focus.

2. Be Realistic With Your Goals

Be realistic with your goals - exam stress

The earlier in the process you set-up your revision timetable and exam goals, the better.

Even if you only have a few days to go until your first exam though, you must still set realistic goals for your revision and exam performance.

You’ll have a fair idea of what you should realistically be capable of, so work within this, have a clear perspective, and maximise your chances by setting targets that you can reach.

3. Get Organised

Get organised - exam stress

You know you’ve got exams coming up and you know there is plenty of time to get enough revision done in time.

As mentioned above, the earlier you get a revision timetable in place, the better chance you have of success in your exams.

Exam stress for students often comes down to a feeling of panic and under-preparedness.

Break your revision down into small, manageable chunks, allow yourself plenty of breaks and treats for reaching little targets, and don’t panic if you miss a day or have a bad session, you definitely have time to make it up.

4. Sleep Well, Eat Well, And Exercise

Sleep well, eat well, and exercise

You are no good for anything if you are sleeping poorly, eating a bad diet, and getting no exercise.

In order to be in good shape mentally for your exams and to cope with exam stress, you must be right physically.

Make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, that you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and that you get out and exercise.

Even if it is only for a walk every day for a change of scenery and some fresh air, it’s definitely worth doing!

This will keep you fresh and ward off tiredness and mental fatigue.

5. Find A Revision Buddy

Find a revision buddy - exam stress

You’ll have made some good friends in university, whether in lectures or at your student accommodation home.

There are great mental health benefits to building relationships with people you can revise with.

It shares the burden of exam stress and helps you see that every student is going through similar emotions as you.

6. Have Belief In Your Abilities

Have belief in your abilities

You are here in university because you deserve to be.

You have worked hard at school, got the grades you needed, and you know this topic inside and out.

Have faith in your abilities and belief that if you put the hard work in you have a great chance of success in your exams.

Nothing is achieved without hard work and dedication, but you also need to believe you have what it takes.

7. Get Rid Of Bad Habits

Get rid of bad habits - exam stress

We’ve talked about some of the good habits that you need to get into, but what about those bad habits we all pick up?

Avoid drinking caffeine to power through late-night revision, and don’t schedule late-night revision at all if you can help it.

Stick to a structured day that you follow most of the time, allow yourself downtime to relax and enjoy life and take each day as it comes.

Slowly building towards your exams in a way that gives you the best foundation of knowledge.

8. Seek Support From Friends & Family

Seek support from friends & family - exam stress

Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends and family about any exam stress and anxiety that you are feeling.

We all need that warm feeling of support from our loved ones and when you are revising hard and mentally struggling with the expectations of upcoming exams you need to reach out more than you might usually.

It is so easy to get stuck with bad thoughts and spiral out of control when faced with exam stress.

We hope that these few tips can help you find some balance and to put yourself in the best frame of mind to revise well, to stay healthy both mentally and physically.

To maximise your chances of a successful exam. Have belief in your abilities, plan well, work hard, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

If you’re trying to get that dream graduate job and wondering what the best CV templates for students are, check out our latest blog here!

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