Five Strategies For Reducing Exam Anxiety

Term ‘Examination’ is one of the most dreaded of terms in a student’s dictionary but why is it so…..It is probably due to the stress or the stakes of passing the Exam are so high that it leads to stress that is termed as ‘anxiety.’ Exam anxiety or exam stress is a psychological condition. However, when this distress becomes so excessive that it actually interferes and impairs learning, hurts test performance during an exam, such state is known as ‘examination anxiety’.


Before the Exams, anxiety can be reduced in the following manner –

1.      Plan your revision

  • Set aside plenty of time for revision
  • Sort through your notes, essays and reports, and focus on the essential material
  • Actively use your notes – re-structure and condense them
  • Plan answer outlines
  • Think about questions you might expect to find in your exam
  • Seek help and guidance from your teacher etc. if you find something you don’t quite understand
  • Don’t sit reading for long periods of time.   It quickly becomes boring and your concentration can easily start to wane

2.      Take Proper Breaks

  • Studying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will make you exhausted and burnt out even long before the actual exam
  • Divide your days in three periods of 150 minutes each and revise for two out of the three such periods
  • Plan to have one day a week completely free from revision
  • Keep up with some of your other activities – try to get the balance right between study and leisure
  • Get the support of your friends, family and/or your partner
  • Be cool and keep to a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid anything that promises you limitless energy. There is nothing that provides this and you don’t want to experiment on anything new at this time
  • Take regular exercise.   Find something you enjoy – swimming, jogging, football etc.
  • Yoga, meditation or other alternatives for relaxing the mind and body are worth considering

3.      Eating and Sleeping

  • Your brain needs energy and it also needs rest.   Eat little and often
  • Eat quality food, e.g. wholemeal bread, pasta, nuts, fruit, lots of vegetables etc.
  • Go for quality drinks, e.g. plenty of water, milk, real fruit juice etc.

4.      Revise when you are Feeling Alert

  • Make sure you take time after doing revision to wind down.  
  • Try not to go straight to bed without winding down

5.      Avoid Panic the Night Before

You have been feeling quite calm during the revision period.   But then panic sets in the night before. So

  • Learn in advance how to relax.   In that way, you will feel confident that, if you start to panic or your mind goes blank, you will be able to regain control
  • Beat negative thoughts.   Read a book or comic, watch an amusing programme or think of your favourite jokes
  • Do your best to be well prepared, it will give you some confidence that you have done the work needed
  • However anxious you may feel, try to avoid working too close to the exam like the night before or the morning of the exam.   Try to do something relaxing instead go for a walk or have a warm bath.
  • Eat something even if you feel sick.   Bread, crackers and cereals are good for settling your stomach
  • Make sure you know exactly when and where the exam is. Try not to arrive late at the exam as that would only increase your anxiety
  • Have everything ready to take with you pens, pencils, admit card etc.

Here are some more strategies that will help a student in overcoming or minimizing test anxiety—

  • Make sure you’re prepared. 
  • Banish the negative thoughts. 
  • Take deep breaths. 
  • Avoid the perfectionist trap. 
  • Extra support can be provided with the School Counsellor

‘Exam anxiety’ is a stress that almost everyone experiences and is particularly prevalent amongst students, we at ASPAM Scottish, one of the best schools in NCR, organize workshops for our students and suggest ways to practice to overcome exam anxiety. A recently concluded session on ‘Exam anxiety ‘was chiefly planned for the grade X and XII students appearing for their board exams in March.

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