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Exam Stress: 7 ways to beat the blues

So, you’ve booked your exams and the big day is nearly here…

At this stage even mentioning the word ‘exam’ is sending you into a cold sweat. Here’s how to keep it cool when your stress level is 100.

Stay off the coffee

Ah caffeine. Yes, it might make you more productive for an hour or so. But knocking back three double espressos for breakfast isn’t going to put you in a great frame of mind for the rest of the day. The initial high is great – you are awake, motivated and ready to win at life.

Ever heard the saying ‘what goes up must come down’? Very relevant here.

exam stress


Catch some z’s

Getting enough sleep is going to be crucial to your mental sharpness and overall wellbeing. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that staying up late to study is a really cool, hard-core revision method. Sending *those* Snapchats of your notes, a can of Redbull and the clock showing 3am was only really acceptable at Uni and even then – slightly uncool.

Get your blood pumping

Exercise is a gift. Obvious, I know – but this one really counts. I’m not saying get up and run a marathon but a walk between studying will do you the world of good. If you feel like getting some serious cardio in, then joining a running group or heading to a gym class could really perk you up and take your mind off exam stress. Endorphins are your friend – make the most of them.


Goodbye Bieber, hello Bach

It sounds strange, but listening to classical music has been proven to reduce stress and up productivity. Our brains release dopamine when we listen to it – how good is that? If you’re struggling to find the perfect track to accompany your exam stress – try Debussy’s Clair De Lune below.


Get visual

‘What you think, you become’ Buddha taught – and he wasn’t far off. Visualisation is a powerful tool, which you can use to your advantage when stress has got the better of you. If you keep seeing vivid moving pictures of yourself messing up the exam, it’s time to block that from your mind and replace it with visualisations of success.

What will it feel like when you’re sat in the exam and know the answers to the questions? How will it feel when you pass? Keep these thoughts in mind and you’ll attract positivity.

‘The future you see is the future you get.’  Robert G Allen

Syrup on a waffle vs salad and falafel

I know it’s hard when your cortisol levels are sky-high and the golden M of McDonald’s never seems to be that far away. Although the drive thru may be calling you, in the days leading up to an exam lots of water and healthy food will serve you a lot better than wolfing down a supersize big mac and coke. That being said, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you accidentally inhale a box of Maltesers during an evening of revision – we’ve all been there.

yellow banana

Be selfish with your time

Last but not least, remember not to get too distracted right at the last hurdle. In the weeks leading up to a big exam, time flies. Whatever happens – keep your eyes on the prize and remember that effective time management is a skill that will last you a lifetime. If you can master it now, then the world is truly your oyster.

Good luck!