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How to Overcome Exam Stress: Great Tips for Conquering Fears

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


A confident student

The fear of taking exams and tests, also known as test anxiety, is a experienced by many students. It's natural to feel some level of stress when facing a demanding task, but for some people, the fear can be immense and interfere with their ability to complete the exam to the best of their abilities.


Test anxiety can show in a many ways, these include physical symptoms like perspiring, racing heartbeat, and stomach upset, not to mention mental symptoms like difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively and difficulty remembering facts.


There are several ways for students to manage their test anxiety and improve their performance on exams and tests and we are going to look at them here.


Good Study Habits.

A student with good study habits

Getting those study habits in line is a big part of getting ready for exams. Let's kick things off with a few tips to help you out:

Allocate Study Time: It's a lot easier to buckle down when you've got a set time each day or week for your studies. During this time, try to ditch distractions like social media or TV. Plan Your Study Time: Breaking your study sessions into smaller chunks can make things feel less overwhelming. You could set aside blocks of time for each subject and really stick to your plan. Take Breaks: Your brain needs some downtime too. Every hour or so, take a breather – stretch, walk around, or just chill out for a bit. Find Your Study Spot: Some folks do best in silence, while others like a bit of background noise. Give different study spots a shot to see what clicks for you. Get Active with Learning: Instead of just going over your notes again and again, try testing yourself or explaining the stuff to someone else. It helps you really understand and the material sticks better.

Be realistic about your expectations:


Keep in mind, everyone's got their own way of learning. What works like magic for one person might not do anything for the next. So, find those study habits that really work for you and stay with them.

Being realistic about what you expect from exams and tests is a big deal.


When you're facing these tests, it's natural to want the best results, but if you set your standards too high, you're just tempting needless stress and a big disappointment


Instead of being consumed by some unachievable grade, why not think about how far you've come and how you are continuing to grow? Try setting goals that actually feasible – like understanding the material better or improving on the last time.


Remember, exams and tests are just a part of your whole academic journey. Don't pin all your hopes on one test. but think about the bigger picture.


If you are feeling totally consumed by stress, talk with someone you trust – a friend, family, or a mentor. Sometimes, their support and point of view can really help you regain your focus.


Be confident that you performed to the best of your abilities.

Man being confident that he has done well

Putting your all into something – giving it your best shot – that's what performing to the max is all about. It's like aiming for your own top score, really pushing yourself. And guess what? There are some smart moves you can make to hit that mark:


Get Specific with Goals: Having clear goals keeps you on track and excited. Make them tough but doable. And remember, breaking them into smaller steps makes them way more manageable.

Time Management Skills: These help you stay organized and stop you from feeling overwhelmed. Devise a plan that balances your study time and your personal life, and try to stick to it as much as you can.

Stay Fit and Well: Taking care of your body and mind gives you a big boost. Make sure you're sleeping enough, eating good food, and staying active. Plus, managing stress and looking after yourself mentally are key.

Stay on Point: Distractions are the enemy of peak performance. Cut them out when you're working or studying. Tricks like the Pomodoro Technique can help you stay super focused for short bursts.

Practice Makes Perfect: Regular practice is like a secret weapon. It helps you get better and feel more confident. Whether it's playing an instrument, practicing a talk, or going over stuff for an exam, the more you do it, the more you nail it.


Stick with these ideas and watch your chances of totally nailing it and hitting your personal and education goals shoot up.


Difficulty concentrating in exams and recalling information.


It's totally normal to feel a bit scared or uneasy before or during an exam, and sometimes this can alter your concentration. Along with what is mentioned previously, here are a few more things you can try out to help keep your concentration on track during exams:

Chill Out: Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualizing can actually help reduce the anxiety and improve the concentration. Sleep Well: Getting enough sleep is like magic for your brain. It helps keep your mind sharp and on point. Make sure to get a good night's sleep before exam day. Eat Well: What you eat affects how your brain works. Aim for a balanced diet with lots of fruits, veggies, and protein. Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water is key for your focus and brain power. So, make sure you're drinking enough in the days leading up to the exam. Boost Your Memory: Memory tricks like mnemonic devices, flashcards, or mind maps can really help you sort and remember info. Quiz Yourself: Testing yourself, or even getting a friend to quiz you, is a clever way to remember facts and work out where you need more focus.

If even after trying these things you're still struggling to remember info, it might be a good idea to talk with a tutor or other academic support. They can help you pinpoint the areas where you need to focus more and find ways to boost your memory.


And if focus is still a struggle, be sure to reach out to a counselor or a mental health professional. They can help you work out why your concentration's slipping and give you tips to sharpen it up, so you get the results you need.


Failure equals success in exams?


A woman who has achieved great results

It is wrong to say that failure equals success in exams. While it is true that failure can sometimes lead to success, it is important to remember that success in exams is usually a result of hard work, preparation, and dedication.


Failure in exams can often be the result of just not putting in the effort required or not being properly prepared. However, it is important to note that failure in exams is not the be all and end all and it is possible to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.


It is of paramount importance to approach exams with a positive mental attitude and to remember that failure is merely a natural part of the learning process. It is okay to make mistakes, but be sure to learn from them and use them as an opportunity to improve and grow.


Ensuring early preparedness in exams.


Woman preparing for an exam

There are many ways to make sure you're ready for your exams, and here they are:


Get a Head Start: Dive into your studies well before the actual exam date. Spreading out your study time over a long period, which helps you really remember information.

Plan Your Study Time: Make a solid plan that lays out when you'll tackle each subject, and make sure to stick with it. This keeps you in line and gives every subject its proper attention.

Time for Breaks: Taking breaks while studying is a must. They help you stay sharp and keep burnout away. Give yourself a breather every hour or so – stretch, go for a stroll, or do something to recharge your batteries.

Regular Revisits: Instead of trying to cram everything last-minute, make it a habit to revisit what you're learning regularly. It helps stuff stick better and you'll be way more prepared for the exam.

Don't Be Shy to Ask for Help: If you're having a tough time with a certain topic, don't hesitate to ask for a hand. You can talk to a tutor, your teacher, or even a classmate who's got it figured out.


By keeping these tips in mind, you're giving yourself a solid shot at being well prepared when those exams roll around.


A sense of accomplishment in exams success!

A sense of accomplishment

Success in exams can give a sense of achievement and validation that the hard work and dedication put into studying has paid off. It can also be a confidence booster and can motivate you to continue working hard and striving for success in other areas of your life.


Success in exams can also lead to opportunities for further education and career advancement. For students, doing well in exams can often lead to acceptance into top universities and can open doors to exciting career paths.


However, it is important to recognize that success in exams is not the only measure of intelligence or worth. It is important to value and recognize other forms of achievement, such as creativity, teamwork, and personal growth.


Being punctual for exam success.


Man checking he is on time

  • Being on time for exams is important for several reasons:

  • It shows regard for the examiners and the exam process.

  • It allows you to have time to mentally prepare for the exam and go over any last minute details.

  • It helps to ensure that you are not rushed or stressed out at the start of the exam, which can negatively impact your results.

To be punctual for exams, make sure to:

  • Be sure of the location and start time of the exam in advance.

  • Allow plenty of time to get to the exam location, taking into account any potential delays or issues that may arise.

  • Prepare everything you need for the exam the night before.

By being punctual for exams, can be a recipe for success and maximize your chances of top marks.


Implementation of relaxation strategies before exams.


A woman practicing deep breathing exercises

There are lots of relaxation tricks to turn to before those exams. Here are some:


Take Breathers: As previously mentioned, taking breaks while you're studying is like a must. It keeps you locked in and stops you from burning out. So, every hour or so, give yourself a breather – stretch, maybe walk around, or just do something to give yourself a boost.

Move Your Body: Getting active works like magic for your stress and mood. Find a way to move that you actually enjoy – could be a jog, a yoga class, or whatever works for you.

Deep Breathing: Is like hitting the chill button for your mind and body. Take a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose, then let 'em out through your mouth. Focus on your breath and let go of any racing thoughts. You can find out much more about this in this other post

Meditation Time: Meditation's a super tool for kicking stress and boosting your focus. You'll find loads of apps and videos online that guide you through meditation. Could be worth a shot. We have a Meditation session for stress in our store that you can download.

Catch Those Z's: Don't forget – getting enough sleep before the exams is a vital. You need to be fresh and ready to roll when the exam hits.

Self-Hypnosis. Self-Hypnosis. You may want to take a look through our store where you will find dozens of different sessions.


Give these suggestions a go, and you'll be chilling out and feeling on point before those exams time.


Self Hypnosis for Fear of Exams.


Self-hypnosis is a technique that involves inducing a state of relaxation and focus in order to access the subconscious mind and make positive changes to your thoughts and behaviors. It can be a useful tool for addressing a wide range of fear and phobias. One of our most popular Self-Hypnosis sessions has been our recording for Overcoming The Fear of Exams

you can download it now.


The session has been written and recorded by Sharon Shinwell. Sharon is a U.K. qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist who has been helping people to conquer their fears and phobias for over 20 years.


Sharon Shinwell Clinical Hypnotherapist

In conclusion.

It's natural to feel anxious about exams and tests. But by considering the strategies we've discussed, such as creating a study plan, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking support from friends and family, you can deal with your fear and perform to the best of your abilities on test day. Remember, exams are just one part of your study journey and they do not solely define your worth as a person. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and you will be able to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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