Managing Stress and Anxiety during Exam Season

Maggie Parker, student, Syracuse University  |  December 2, 2022 in Pearson Students

A view from the beach with the sun about to rise so that the sky has just a little pink and blue.

During midterm and finals seasons, every student feels at least a little bit of stress due to looming projects, essays, and exams. However, stress is never helpful when it comes to performing your best on important assessments. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, but we could all use some additional inspiration on how to keep calm during these stressful times. Here are the best ways to reduce stress while coping with exam season, and how to still make time for yourself even when you’re super busy.

Plan Ahead

I know, I know, pretty unhelpful for my number one tip for keeping calm during exam season to be something that requires forethought. But seriously, the best way to help yourself out for exam season is to stay on top of things from the second classes start. I like to map out all my assignments and exams in a big spreadsheet with all the due dates, so I know exactly what work I have to do each week and what weeks are going to need a little extra focus. This way, I don’t suddenly realize I have a ton of work to do the same week I have an exam, so I’m able to instead plan ahead and get assignments done ahead of when they’re due.

Plan Out Breaks

When you’re studying, it can be really easy to either forget to take breaks and get burnt out or take too many breaks, leading to unproductivity. By planning out specific times you’re going to take breaks and sticking to them, you’re able to get work done while still managing your time and stress to maximize productivity and minimize burnout. Additionally, when you schedule breaks, make sure you stick to the amount of time you allotted for yourself, as it’s all too easy to get sucked into the black hole of social media and suddenly realize your 15-minute break turned into an hour!

Make Time for Friends and Family

Even though your mind might be wholly focused on schoolwork, it’s important to maintain interpersonal connections even when you’re stressed. Friends and family can be a great shoulder to lean on when you need help or someone to talk to, so keep in contact with them regularly even when you’re overwhelmed with studying or assignments. This not only assures them that you’re doing ok during a stressful time, but also allows you to recognize that school isn’t everything, and that people will still love you regardless of your performance in a class.

Physical Activity

Exercise is proven to release endorphins, which are often referred to as “feel-good chemicals”. Endorphins are also proven to reduce stress, so getting active during midterms and finals season can be a great way to get outside and have fun while also improving your mood and stress levels. Something as simple as going for a walk with friends, or a hike, can have incredible effects on your mood and productivity, and also allows you to physically get away from your work for a little while.

Following these steps should aid you during those stressful seasons in the semester. You can succeed and you do have tools to help you. Though everyone manages stress differently, I have found that across the board these tips help the majority of people, myself including, during stressful times.

Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!