How To Handle Test Day Stress

Test days can be stressful for a lot of people. There’s the worry that you could forget all that you’ve been studying. You may also be taking a tough class that’s testing your ability. If you suffer from test day stress, don’t feel alone. In North America, a lot of students suffer from test anxiety. Stress can greatly impact performance, with students who reported suffering from test anxiety typically scoring half a letter grade lower than their peers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. These tips will show you how to handle test day stress and ace those formerly dreaded exams.

Pre-Exam Preparation Is Key

Part of the fear of tests is shaped by the fear of the unknown. You don’t know exactly what questions your teacher can spring on you. This means good test prep is important, so stay active throughout the class. Take notes on what the teacher emphasizes in the lessons; they can be important hints as to what will show up in the test. Asking questions, either to the teacher or your peers, will help minimize the doubt as well.

Or, you may have a habit of procrastinating and cramming at the last minute. There’s a reason that lessons are portioned throughout the semester instead of all at once. The human brain cannot handle too much information at once. The same logic applies to studying these lessons. Give them the right amount of time to ensure that you understand them. A key strategy to make sure your time is used correctly is to make a habit of studying. Like exercise, maintaining a study routine will help keep you on the right track and prevent you from cramming.

It’s also important to have a good rest. Your brain won’t perform as well when it’s chronically tired, so take a break every once in a while, especially when you have difficulty retaining information. 

Manage Stress on Exam Day

Exam day is here. Now what? You can help yourself get in a better mindset to handle stress through several techniques, such as:

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help tremendously, as stress can cause you to breathe more shallowly, which impairs your thinking process. There are many breathing exercises you can try to help ease stress and reduce your anxiety.

Positive Affirmations

Positive statements can be beneficial to your mindset so that you avoid being overwhelmed with negative thoughts or self-doubts. For example, simply thinking, “I can succeed,” will do wonders for your mental health.


This is another powerful strategy you can use to help get flying colors in your exam. By imagining yourself doing well on the test, you also motivate yourself to focus on achieving this and making it a reality.

Simple Physical Exercises

The resulting dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin from exercising will aid in your ability to stay focused, as well as relieve you from stress or tension.

Avoid Simple Mistakes

Giving yourself time to understand the test instructions will ensure that you don’t misunderstand the exam. If you don’t follow directions properly, it won’t matter if you know the answers to all of the questions in the test.

A key thing to remember when taking an exam is to pace yourself. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular question or section, save it for later. It won’t help to fixate on a specific item and forget to take the rest of the test. Answering other questions first may help jog your memory. If you effectively use your time, you can come back to your work and see where you can improve your answers or find mistakes you missed the first time.

Relax after the Test

After you’ve taken care of your work, it’s time to take care of yourself. Self-care is a valuable part of the process. It ensures that not all you’re doing is work. It can be physical, like going for a jog or working out at the gym. You can also engage with your favorite hobbies, such as playing video games or reading for pleasure.

It’s even better if you do it with friends. Your classmates can help provide emotional support for you since they went through the same thing as you. Avoiding overthinking is also very important. You’ve already finished the work, so thinking about what you should’ve answered doesn’t help. Put the test in the past until you get your results back.

Conquer Test Day Stress

Taking tests can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right plan, you can keep the uncertainty to a minimum by being prepared for all the ways a test can go. Having the right mindset is also important. Your brain can empower you to do impressive things. Of course, you have to be kind to yourself. No test result is more important than your well-being. With these tips, you can handle test day stress and show everyone how much you’ve learned in class.