7 Stress-Busting Tips to Help You Relax Before an Exam

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Different emotions come up when students think about their exams. Some live for it and can’t wait to show the knowledge they have gained during the semester. However, the mere thought of it sends shivers down the spines of some others. Most students know about the knot in the stomach, how the heart races, and how the mind sometimes goes blank just before writing a particular exam. Even the best students are not exempted from the anxiety.

The good news is that we come bearing relaxation tips that will help you manage stress better so that you can write those papers in optimum condition.

How Stress Affects Exam Performance

Under ideal conditions, the human brain is like a highly efficient computer that can process information quickly, store it, retrieve memories seamlessly, and make accurate judgments. However, when humans are stressed, cortisol levels increase, sending the body into fight or flight mode. This hormone is helpful when facing actual danger, but not so advantageous when remembering the steps in the glycolytic pathway.

Exam anxiety can present in different ways. Sometimes, one may not remember anything they studied well. The test instructions can suddenly look like gibberish. Decision fatigue can set in and make selecting answers challenging. The secret to getting beyond these obstacles is to destress.

7 Tips to Help You Relax Before an Exam

Some exams count for much in your academic or career journey, and you can’t afford anxiety in such cases. You need to know how to relax before an exam. No matter where or when, these seven battle-tested tips will quickly help you relax and focus:

  • Deep Breathing for the Win: Deep breathing exercises are world-renowned for their effectiveness and quick action. They simply work, targeting key physical and physiological points to create calm. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Move It or Lose It: Light exercise can disrupt the body’s anxiety response by engaging it in physical activity. Taking a brisk walk or pacing around a spot can do wonders in calming you before an exam.
  • Music to Your Ears: Music can reach the soul's deepest depths and be used to destress before an exam. Nature sounds, classical music, and slow instrumentals have been found to lower stress levels and improve focus.
  • Visualization: Your Secret Weapon: Sometimes, visualizing a more delightful and pleasant scenario can do the trick. Imagine the exam. Imagine knowing the questions and being able to easily answer them.
  • Ditch the Sugar Rush: Get snacks that boost the brain, like nuts, whole grains, and fruits, when selecting what to munch on as you revise before your exam. Caffeinated drinks and sugary snacks may be of temporary help as you study, but they can lead to a blood sugar crash and increased anxiety later on.
  • Embrace the Sunshine: Studies show that exposure to natural light can greatly improve mood. Taking a few minutes to soak up sunlight before your exam is such a great idea.
  • Talk it out: Sometimes, all you need is a listening ear. You can try talking to a friend, a family member, or a guidance counselor. In some cases, verbalizing your concerns can provide context and help you disarm the cause of the concern.

Experiment with these and see what works best for you. They are but a few techniques to get you started. It is best if you can incorporate them into your study schedule. Remember, relaxation will do much more than help you in your forthcoming exams. It will also help you be more productive in your academic journey.

Creating a Pre-Exam Relaxation Routine

Creating a pre-exam relaxation routine is about building a personalized plan that works for you. The first step is determining what makes you more anxious before tests. Is it the lengthy stroll to the testing area? A large textbook sprawled on the professor's desk? Or is it the worry that time is running out? You can address your triggers by using the relaxation techniques discussed above in combination with a routine best suited to you.

Try the following examination routines:

  1. Schedule Relaxation Pockets: Start destressing now rather than waiting until the night before the test! Include short moments of relaxation in your study sessions. Set a five to ten-minute timer and utilize that period to perform mild stretching, enjoy relaxing music, or practise deep breathing exercises. These little moments of relaxation might help you stay focused during your study sessions and avoid being overly stressed.
  2. The Night Before Ritual: Establish a peaceful evening routine the night before your test. Read a fun novel, have a warm bath, or practice guided meditation. Give yourself an hour to avoid electronics before bed since the blue light they generate might interfere with your sleep cycle and make it more difficult to unwind. Try to get a decent night's sleep; a rested mind is an analytical mind capable of handling any exam.
  3. Morning Mantra: Start your exam day by waking up early and giving yourself plenty of time to prepare. Have a nutritious breakfast, engage in light exercise, and tell yourself a positive affirmation such as "I am calm, confident, and prepared." Avoid hitting the snooze button and rushing through your preparation.

Creating a pre-exam relaxation routine isn't only about the immediate benefits of calming test-day jitters. It's about building long-term stress management habits that will benefit you throughout your academic career and beyond.


The benefits of relaxing for an exam far outweigh the risks of not doing so. You help keep your body fresh when you relax, thereby setting yourself up to remember the things you studied when writing the exam. Remember to:

  • Try out different stress-busting techniques: Use the techniques provided in this article. Get a feel for them so you can know which one is best suited to you. Ideally, it should be something you can use in various situations, from presentations and deadlines to job interviews, let alone exams.
  • **Prioritize Self-Care: **one can be better prepared physically and mentally if one is healthy. Eating nutritious food is important so your body gets all the essentials. Also, make time to do the things you love. Don’t lose sight of your hobbies. Have some fun.

You can overcome test anxiety, succeed academically, and thrive in all facets of your life by implementing stress management and relaxation techniques into your daily routine.

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