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What is Exam Stress? Symptoms, Causes and Top Tips to Deal with Exam Stress

  • By Admin
  • mate-date 15-12-2023

Exams are an inevitable part of every student's life. They can be a source of motivation, challenge, and achievement, but they can also cause stress, anxiety, and fear. Exam stress is a common phenomenon that affects students of all ages and levels. It is the feeling of pressure, nervousness, or worry that one experiences before, during, or after an exam. Exam stress can have negative impacts on one's physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as one's academic performance and well-being.

What are the symptoms of exam stress?
Exam stress can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the individual and the situation. Some of the common symptoms of exam stress are:

•  Physical symptoms: These include headaches, stomach aches, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, muscle tension, sweating, trembling, palpitations, etc.

•  Mental symptoms: These include difficulty concentrating, forgetting, confusion, poor memory, lack of creativity, etc.

•  Emotional symptoms: These include irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, hopelessness, etc.

•  Behavioral symptoms: These include procrastination, avoidance, isolation, overeating, undereating, substance abuse, etc.


What are the causes of exam stress?
Exam stress can be caused by various factors, both internal and external. Some of the common causes of exam stress are:

•  High expectations: Students may feel stressed if they have unrealistic or excessive expectations from themselves, their parents, their teachers, or their peers. They may fear failure, disappointment, or rejection if they do not meet these expectations.

•  Lack of preparation: Students may feel stressed if they have not studied enough, have not understood the material, have not revised properly, or have not practiced enough. They may feel unprepared, overwhelmed, or confused by the exam content or format.

•  Time pressure: Students may feel stressed if they have too many exams, too little time, or too much work to do. They may feel rushed, panicked, or unable to manage their time effectively.

•  Competition: Students may feel stressed if they compare themselves to others, feel inferior, or feel threatened by their peers. They may feel insecure, jealous, or resentful of others' achievements or abilities.

•  Other factors: Students may feel stressed if they have other personal, family, or social issues that affect their mood, focus, or motivation. They may also feel stressed if they have physical or mental health problems that interfere with their learning or performance.


What are the top tips to deal with exam stress?
Exam stress can be managed and reduced by adopting some healthy habits and strategies. Some of the top tips to deal with exam stress are:

•  Plan ahead: Students should plan their study schedule, set realistic goals, prioritize their tasks, and stick to their routine. They should also prepare their exam materials, such as notes, books, pens, calculators, etc., in advance.

•  Study smart: Students should use effective study techniques, such as active reading, note-taking, summarizing, highlighting, mind mapping, flashcards, etc. They should also review their notes regularly, practice past papers, and test themselves.

•  Take breaks: Students should take regular breaks from studying, such as every 30 minutes or every hour. They should also relax their mind and body, such as by listening to music, meditating, breathing, stretching, etc.

•  Eat well: Students should eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. They should also drink plenty of water, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and junk food.

•  Sleep well: Students should get enough sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours per night. They should also have a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid using electronic devices, such as phones, laptops, or TVs, before bedtime.

•  Exercise: Students should do some physical activity, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc., at least 30 minutes per day. Exercise can help release endorphins, improve blood circulation, boost energy, and reduce stress.

•  Stay positive: Students should maintain a positive attitude, and believe in themselves and their abilities. They should also avoid negative thoughts, such as "I can't do this", "I'm going to fail", or "I'm not good enough". Instead, they should use positive affirmations, such as "I can do this", "I'm going to succeed", or "I'm good enough".

•  Seek help: Students should not hesitate to ask for help if they need it. They should seek support from their teachers, tutors, parents, friends, or counselors. They should also share their feelings, worries, or concerns with someone they trust.


Exam stress is a normal and natural response to a challenging situation. However, it can be harmful if it is excessive or prolonged. Therefore, students should learn how to cope with exam stress effectively, and use it to their advantage. By following the tips mentioned above, students can reduce their exam stress, and improve their exam performance and well-being.

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