Peer Health

Exam Stress

The most effective tools in waging your battle against short-term or exam stress are knowing and accepting your limits, and trying to keep everything in the proper perspective:

your life will NOT be worthless if you don’t get every question right on the exam.

When you are studying or writing a paper, don’t be afraid to take a break. Go see a movie at Images or the local cinema, listen to your favorite music, go for a walk, call up an old friend, make a trip to the snack bar, write a letter venting all your frustrations and then rip it up, let out a primal scream, or talk to a trained professional. Take a break and give your brain a rest. Even if the break is only five minutes of daydreaming, do it. Studying with no breaks for long periods of time is not as productive as studying with small breaks every hour or two.

On the exam day, plan to get to the exam with at least five minutes to spare, find a comfortable seat, and take a minute to relax. Don’t try to cram during the last minutes before the exam; put away those notes, because whether or not you studied enough for the exam, those extra two minutes of studying are not going to make any difference. Your time is much better spent taking a few deep breaths and getting into the proper mindset. You might try to use the one-minute relaxation technique described here.

Taking Care of Your Body

It is especially important to take care of yourself during periods of high stress. Here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy: eat balanced, regular meals; try to get at least six hours of sleep a night, and try to make time for exercise.

Eating balanced meals gives your body the stored energy it needs to draw upon in a stressful situation. Try to stay away from using foods high in sugar and caffeine as study aids for prolonged periods of time. Foods high in sugar and caffeine may provide a temporary lift, but will bring you down lower in the end. Exercise is a good way to work out your frustrations and gain a new perspective.