Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life – no matter how old you are or what you do, stress will always be there as a part of life; there is simply no escaping from this bitter fact of life. Anxiety, in most cases, originates from one specific source-cause, which in turn, may yield in various subtle or secondary factors that collectively add to the severity of that source. The genesis of exam stress in majority of students can be traced back to fear of not being able to deliver what is expected of oneself. Other secondary causes such as possible humiliation in front of friends and family, not qualifying for admission into their preferred college/university, stream or program fuel even further to the gradually piling-up anxiety.

 So, in case you are all stressed-out thinking about the coming examination, just know that you are not alone – and neither is uncommon to feel how you are feeling at the moment. You don’t have to be in despair though – especially considering the simple fact that there are numerous tricks and tips that can help you get rid of stress effectively and efficiently (and in turn, helping you to perform better in the exam).

Tackle Exam Stress Effectively

 You must adhere to the right approach as well as strategies in order to triumph over piling up stress. But before you can tackle stress effectively, you must know that stress, in essence, is your body’s way of reacting to an unpleasant situation. Almost anything can yield in stress as long as you perceive it as unpleasant. Certain types of stress, however, can bring out the best qualities in an individual (for example, close contest in a game).

Common physical symptoms that accompany exam stress

     Muscle tension


     Sleep Difficulties

     Repaid uneven pounding heartbeat

     Frequent urge to pass urine

     Fast, shallow breathing

     Chest discomfort

     Change in appetite,

     Constipation or diarrhea


Psychological effects of stress

In most cases, students become vulnerable to uncharacteristic traits such as under-pressure frustration and aggression. They almost always live in a tensed state of mind and can not relax even if they want to. Prolonged exposure to such stress level eventually lead to a psychological condition which can be aptly described as gloomy, fussy and lacking focus. This eventually mentally drain them out and hinder their ability to concentrate on studies.

 Healthy eating habit can help – don’t straightaway reject it

There are numerous scientific researches that have demonstrated how your eating habit can dramatically influence piling up stress and anxiety. Therefore, always make it a point to balance your food habits over time. A healthy breakfast provides you with the energy required to start the day on a positive note – beware, not having a proper breakfast can eventually mess around with your ability to concentrate. While fast food in moderate quantity is acceptable, excessive intake of such diet is strictly prohibitable. Gradually increase the intake of organic, healthy food such as green salad. Also, you will be amazed to see the benefits of replacing your daily doze of finger chips with an apple. The key to a healthy diet is simple – keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Don’t deprive yourself of a good sleep – particularly just before and during the exam days

The inability to fall or stay asleep – a sleep disorder called insomnia – is one of the most damaging byproduct of excessive stress. Try and have a sound sleep for at least 7-8 hours every day. It’s better to avoid late night study marathons and instead go to bed around midnight so you can wake up early in the morning and start studying. However, if you are unable to sleep properly despite all your efforts, may be it’s time you consulted a doctor.

Exercise – both physical and mental workouts can help you tackle stress

Exercise can play a pivotal role in getting you rid of stress and anxiety; and by exercise, we mean both physical and mental workouts. And the best part is that you don’t even have to go to a gym – just walk or cycle 15 minutes a day least thrice a week. Just remember, no matter what you do, don’t let yourself turn into a couch potato.

There are a number of mind games that you can play and think about during your spare time. Work on your systematic problem solving skills. Here’s a simple trick to go about that objective: First and foremost, try and identify the stressful situation and then define it as an objective problem that can be solved with some effort. Think of a possible solution – in fact, as many possible solutions as you can and then anticipate the potential outcomes of each individual solution. Find the best solution and then act on it.

The Must Do’s

For Students

     Know your maximum concentration span

     Take occasional breaks instead of studying for hours in a stretch

     Resort to group study sessions for difficult subjects

     Don’t think too much about previous failures, if any. Focus on the future

     Work on a practical daily study time table and stick with it

     Prioritize the overall workload based on your ability to handle them individually

     Don’t think too much about the results – just stick to your strategy

     Express yourself – talk about your fears and anxieties (with someone you can open-up to)

For parents

     First of all, don’t overburden your child – be supportive

     Help him/her in key areas such as planning, organizing as well as preparing a time table

     Help your child to develop self-confidence, self-discipline and a sense of achievement

     Motivate him/her

     Avoid nagging unnecessarily – instead talk like an adult and help him/her identify the root cause of the problem

     Do not bring out sensitive topics such as any previous failure

     Humor is the worst enemy of stress – try and make yourself light and humorous.

     Acknowledge the simple fact that exams are not the end of the world.

Key Messages

Always focus on the three A’s, namely: Acknowledge, Appreciate and Alleviate.

First of all, you must acknowledge that stress is something which is truly unavoidable. Once you do that, try and appreciate the root cause of your stress. No need to blame yourself for anything that you have not done wrong. Finally, always make it a point to alleviate the pressure using all the aforementioned tactics.