How To Deal With Exam Stress (PART IV)


Exams are a crucial part of education and the source of stress for many students. In order to avoid crippling anxiety from these pesky evaluations, it is important to approach them with a clear mind and an understanding of how to deal with stressful situations more broadly. In many cases, exam stress is all in the mind, and mental discipline is a large part of what is needed to succeed.


1. Don’t think about it. Easier said than done, of course, but, try to keep in mind that once the exam is over, you can’t go back and change anything about how it went. So, avoid asking your friends what they put for certain questions if you think that will just stress you out. To avoid ruminating, or getting stuck in that “broken-record loop,” try the following tips:

Let go of the things you can’t control. Ask yourself, “what about my exam can I change at this point?” If it is nothing, do your best to let it go.

View your mistakes as opportunities to learn. From this perspective, getting a exam question wrong isn’t something to be worried about.

Try scheduling a worry break. Set aside 30 minutes and let all your worries out during that time. Think hard about the things you are stressed about. Then, once that 30 minutes is up, let it go.

Exercise can also help you to get your mind off of your exam after it is done.

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2. Take time off. Clear your mind from thinking about the exam by doing something you enjoy; try to pick an activity that you typically get lost in.

For example, if you get absorbed when you watch a movie or read a book, do that. If you get really into sports when you play them, get outside and play some sports!

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3. Treat it as a learning experience. You can learn from your mistakes; remember that ultimately the goal of an exam is to assess your level of knowledge on a topic. This helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses regarding your course content.

Instead of being stressed about this information, try to view it as an opportunity for an accurate assessment of your knowledge, which you can then use to improve yourself.

Remember that your performance on an exam is not indicative of your worth as a person. You can do poorly on an exam and still be a good student.

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4. Treat yourself. Eat some pizza or sushi or candy or buy yourself a new shirt; whatever treat you like that makes you happy for a few moments. Exams are very stressful but you made it through. Now relax a bit with something you enjoy then start preparing early for your next exam!

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