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How to Reduce Stress & Anxiety During Exams: 08 Ways To Calm Exam Nerves

Exam Nerves

When you appear in the exam, suddenly your mind goes blank. You start sweating. The poor results of the past are flashing in front of your eyes. You are feeling helpless and have a sense of fear. At the same time, you are thinking, where is all the preparation I did?

If these conditions sound familiar to you, your grades are lower than you deserve. You aren’t at your full potential yet. You are letting your hard work and results suffer because of exam anxiety. But don’t worry. We are here with effective ways to manage test anxiety.

Before learning how to calm your exam nerves, it is crucial to understand what exam anxiety is.

What Is Exam Anxiety?

Students feel anxious and stressed during or before exams. This overwhelming feeling refers to exam anxiety. Exam anxiety is common among all students, whether it is the TEAS entrance exam or the GED test.

Here is the thing, a certain amount of stress is healthy for students. It improves their performance and can be motivating for them. However, it is essential to distinguish between everyday stress and exam anxiety disorder.

Excessive exam anxiety can substantially impact students’ mental health and academics. Here are a few effects of exam anxiety on academic performance.

  • Impaired Concentrations
  • Memory Difficulties
  • Reduced Problem-Solving Abilities
  • Time Management Challenges

08 Strategies To Handle Exam Anxiety

The most common reasons for exam anxiety are lack of confidence, self-doubt, high expectations, or negative previous experiences. Well, this can happen to anyone. The most important thing is avoiding it and calming your exam nerves. Here are 10 strategies to help you with exam anxiety.

  • Preparation Techniques
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Healthy Lifestyle Habits
  • Positive Self Talk & Mindset
  • Test Taking Strategies
  • Time Management Techniques
  • Celebrating Progress
  • Professional Help & Mindset

Preparation Techniques

We know that it is pretty obvious. But it is so important that we can’t ignore it. The first thing to do is create a study schedule. It gives you a sense of organization and control over your exam. Here is how you can create a study schedule to eliminate exam anxiety and get success in proctored exams.

Create a Study Schedule

First of all, divide the study material into short and manageable chunks. Then select how much time you can give to your studies each day. Allocate that time slots to specific subjects and topics. Stick to your study plan to develop it into a routine. This will help your mind to focus more during those assigned periods.

Learning Smartly

The extraordinary amount of study material can give you exam anxiety in the first place. What you can do is manage your study material like a pro. Break it into an outline that highlights the main topics and their subtopics. This will give you a valuable overview of your subject.

Apart from that, you can utilize active learning strategies. They can make studying fun for you. You can use the following:

  • Flashcards
  • Sticky Notes
  • Set a Timer
  • Gather Past Papers
  • Attempt Mock Exams

Relaxation Techniques

Anxiety and stress are totally associated with your mind. So, you can use various techniques to relax your mind. First, get rid of all the negative thoughts in your mind if you want to keep it calm. Focus on the positive things, the things that make you happy and confident.

Furthermore, there are many strategies to relax your mind. You can consider deep breathing exercises too. Take a slow and deep breath. Feel your abdomen rise as your lungs fill with air. Now exhale slowly through your mouth. This exercise can keep your mind and body calm. You can practice it during exams to get rid of exam anxiety.

Progressive muscle relaxation is also a technique to keep your body calm and composed. By tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, you can feel sensations that give you a sense of calmness and relaxation. Moreover, research suggests that taking a hot shower helps to relieve stress.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Your daily habits affect your mental health. If you live a healthy life, your mind can quickly grab things. On the other hand, a healthy lifestyle keeps you away from anxiety and depression. So, during the exam, it will help you stay calm and confident. Here are some tips to keep your lifestyle healthy,

Prioritizing Sleep

Lack of sleep can result in exam anxiety. It can negatively impact your cognitive abilities. The more you burden yourself, the more you will feel anxiety. We got some tips for improving your sleep schedule to calm your exam nerves.

  • Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
  • Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
  • Create a Bedtime Routine
  • Limit Screen Time Before

Regular Exercise & Physical Activity

Regular exercises are essential for your mental and physical fitness. Moreover, It keeps your mind fresh and full of positive vibes. Here is how it can help with exam anxiety.

  • Release of Endorphins
  • Stress Reduction
  • Improved Focus and Concentration
  • Enhanced Sleep Quality

Positive Self Talk & Mindset

Exam anxiety is often due to high pressure from parents or friends. It creates self-doubt and negative thoughts. However, challenging these negative thoughts can help you reduce exam anxiety levels.

Changing your negative mindset into positive thoughts is undoubtedly essential. However, it all starts with a single inner thought, “I am not good enough.” To avoid it, you must question yourself for evidence to support this inner dialogue. Sooner or later, you will discover this is just your assumption. Once you’ve identified this, Replace “I will fail” with “I am capable of succeeding.”

Visualizing success is also a powerful technique to calm your exam nerves. It may sound simple, but it can really enhance your performance.

First, find a quiet place and visualize the exam scenario. Imagine yourself feeling confident and well-prepared. Picture yourself answering all questions ideally without any effort. Experience the feeling of success and satisfaction. Let these positive thoughts wash over you.

Test Taking Strategies

Exam anxiety depends on the way how you attempt your exam. If you are just sitting and waiting to think of an answer, there are better ways. We suggest you just start writing. Things will already start to flow into your mind. Otherwise, sitting and watching a blank page can really give you exam anxiety.

Another important is to read the instructions carefully. Pay attention to every small detail of the question, for instance, word limits, required format etc. Underline or highlight the phrases of the questions you want to attempt. Doing this lets you know what to write and how to attempt the question. Once you do that, you will feel confident. Now you can provide concise and accurate responses, increasing your chance of getting remarkable grades.

Time Management Techniques

A lot of students suffer from exam anxiety due to poor time management. They worry that they don’t have time to prepare for the exam. However, that is not always the case. It is all about managing your time effectively. However, if you really lack the time for preparation, you can always choose online exam help.

Here are some tips regarding time management that will help you get rid of exam anxiety.

Using Productivity Tools & Apps

Take advantage of various productivity tools and apps available to enhance your time management skills. These tools can help you create to-do lists, set reminders, and track progress. Some popular productivity apps include Trello, Todoist, and Evernote.

Additionally, consider using time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for a set amount of time (usually 25 minutes) and take short breaks in between. This helps maintain focus and prevents burnout.

Avoiding Procrastination

Procrastination can significantly contribute to exam anxiety and hinder your performance. Combat this habit by understanding the reasons behind your procrastination and finding strategies to overcome it. Break tasks into smaller steps, set deadlines for each step and hold yourself accountable.

Celebrating Progress

The end result is essential. We all know that. But very few know that enjoying the process is important too. It is crucial to appreciate the efforts that you put into your studies. These small things encourage further dedication and help you to keep a positive mindset. Consider these things to celebrate tour progress.

  • Keep a study journal to track your accomplishments and reflect on your growth.
  • Share your achievements with a supportive friend or family member.
  • Treat yourself to a unique activity or outing to mark important milestones, such as completing a challenging chapter or finishing a practice exam.

Rewarding yourself for every accomplishment is also a fantastic way to deal with exam anxiety. This way, reaching every milestone will be a new beginning for you. You can reward yourself in many ways.

  • Treat yourself to a favorite snack or meal.
  • Take a break to engage in a hobby or leisure activity you enjoy.
  • Plan outings or social activities with friends after reaching a study goal.
  • Give yourself small, meaningful rewards like watching an episode of your favorite TV show or taking a short nap.

Professional Help & Resources

If exam anxiety becomes overwhelming and starts affecting your daily life or academic performance, seeking professional help from a counselor or therapist can be beneficial.

Counselors are trained to provide guidance and support in managing anxiety. They can help you develop coping strategies, address underlying issues, and provide a safe space to discuss your concerns.

In addition to professional help, numerous online resources and mobile apps are available to assist with managing exam anxiety. These resources often provide self-help techniques, relaxation exercises, guided meditations, and helpful tips. Some popular apps include Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, which offer mindfulness and stress-reduction tools.


In conclusion, exam anxiety is a common experience among students, but it doesn't have to hinder your performance or negatively impact your mental well-being. You can navigate the exam period more confidently and successfully by implementing effective strategies to manage exam nerves.

Exam anxiety is a common challenge, but with the right strategies and support, you can manage it effectively and unlock your full potential. Embrace these techniques, stay positive, and believe in your abilities, and you'll be well on your way to calmer, more successful exams.