Strategies to Manage Stress During Exams

Connect with others often
During periods of stress connecting with others (i.e., peers, friends and/or loved ones) can help counteract stress.  Trying sending texts or emails, making phone calls, videocalls or meeting up for a physically distanced walk. If you’re struggling and need to talk to someone try Good2Talk, Empower Me and/or Wellness Together Canada – all available 24/7. 

Watch your language
Our thoughts can impact our emotions which in turn can produce physical sensations.  If you notice that you’re having a lot of negative thoughts (i.e., I can’t do this, I’m going to fail, etc.) try re-framing them into positive ones (i.e., I’ve prepared for this exam, I can do this, etc.) which can help you feel less anxious and may alleviate some of your physical symptoms.  Need other strategies?  Check out this Managing Your Anxiety self-directed workbook.

Practice being present
If you find yourself getting anxious about an upcoming exam, try doing a short mindfulness exercise. This could be as simple as breathing a bit slower and more consciously (e.g., breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 4). You could also check out the TAO mindfulness library.

Take active breaks, outside if possible
Being physically active and being outside in nature is linked to stress reduction so when you’re taking study breaks try to move around and get some fresh air. Check out the opportunities to get active through Athletics & Recreation.

Fuel yourself with whole foods
Our brain and bodies function more optimally if we fuel them with fruits and vegetables, lean or plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates. Try using the healthy plate model for your meals or these other tips from the Registered Dietician with Hospitality Services. Need some quick, easy and inexpensive recipe ideas?  Check out the Queen’s Home Kitchen.

Power down before bed
Try to stop studying, watching videos and/or browsing content online before bed to help get better quality sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep when you turn out the lights, try writing down what’s on your mind to give your brain and body permission to let it go and get some sleep. Need help getting better sleep? Book a healthy lifestyle appointment with Health Promotion professional staff.

Need Help with Test Anxiety?

More tips for managing test anxiety can be found on the Student Academic Success Services (SASS) website.