The Oxbridge Editing Blog 5th July 2024

8 Effective Stress Relief Methods for Exam Time

5th July 2024
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Exams are a significant part of academic life, and the pressure to perform well can lead to considerable stress and anxiety. Understanding how to deal with exam stress is crucial for maintaining both mental and physical health during this challenging period. Here, we explore eight effective stress relief techniques to help you manage and alleviate stress during exam time.

1. Establish a Study Routine

One of the most effective ways to manage exam stress is to establish a structured study routine. Consistency and organisation can help reduce anxiety by providing a clear plan of action.

How to Set Up a Study Routine:

  • Create a Study Schedule: Allocate specific times each day for studying different subjects. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible.
  • Break Down Topics: Divide your subjects into manageable chunks. Focus on one topic at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals for each study session. This can help maintain motivation and provide a sense of accomplishment.

By creating a routine, you can reduce the unpredictability that often contributes to exam stress symptoms.

2. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful stress relief techniques that can help you stay calm and focused.

How to Incorporate Mindfulness:

  • Daily Meditation: Spend 10-15 minutes each day meditating. Focus on your breath and clear your mind of distractions.
  • Mindful Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your nervous system. Inhale deeply for four seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds.
  • Mindful Breaks: Take short breaks during study sessions to practice mindfulness. Close your eyes and focus on the present moment.

These practices can significantly reduce stress and anxiety during exams, helping you remain centred and composed.

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Your physical health plays a crucial role in how you deal with exam stress. A healthy body supports a healthy mind, making it easier to cope with pressure.

Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Balanced Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity. Even a 30-minute walk can help reduce stress levels.
  • Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Good sleep hygiene is vital for cognitive function and stress management.

By taking care of your body, you can enhance your overall well-being and resilience to stress.

4. Stay Connected with Support Systems

Isolation can exacerbate exam stress symptoms. Staying connected with friends, family, and peers can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of loneliness.

How to Stay Connected:

  • Talk About Your Stress: Share your concerns and feelings with trusted individuals. Sometimes, just talking about your stress can make it more manageable.
  • Study Groups: Join or form study groups. Collaborating with peers can provide mutual support and help you understand difficult topics better.
  • Social Activities: Make time for social activities, even if they are brief. A short coffee break with a friend can be a great stress reliever.

A strong support network can offer reassurance and practical advice, making exam stress more bearable.

5. Practice Positive Thinking and Affirmations

Positive thinking can transform your approach to exams and reduce anxiety. Affirmations are a useful tool in this practice.

How to Use Positive Thinking:

  • Affirmations: Repeat positive affirmations daily, such as “I am capable of succeeding” or “I am prepared and confident.”
  • Visualisation: Visualise yourself performing well in exams. Imagine the steps you take to succeed and the positive outcome.
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of thinking “I can’t do this,” remind yourself “I can handle this challenge.”

These techniques can help shift your mindset from one of fear to one of confidence.

6. Take Regular Breaks

Continuous studying without breaks can lead to burnout and increased stress. Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity and mental health.

Effective Break Strategies:

  • Pomodoro Technique: Study for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
  • Physical Activity: Use breaks to move around. Stretch, take a walk, or do a short workout to rejuvenate your mind and body.
  • Relaxation Activities: Engage in activities that you enjoy during breaks, such as reading a book, listening to music, or practising a hobby.

Regular breaks can help you stay fresh and focused, improving your overall exam performance.

7. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If exam stress becomes overwhelming and affects your daily life, seeking professional help is crucial. Mental health professionals can provide strategies and support tailored to your needs.

When to Seek Help:

  • Persistent Anxiety: If you experience constant anxiety that doesn’t subside with self-help techniques, consider speaking to a counsellor or therapist.
  • Depressive Symptoms: If you notice symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities, seek professional support.
  • Academic Resources: Many educational institutions offer counselling services. Take advantage of these resources if you need them.

Professional guidance can provide you with effective tools for managing stress and improving your mental health.

8. Practice Time Management

Effective time management is critical for reducing exam stress. By organising your time efficiently, you can reduce last-minute cramming and the associated anxiety.

Time Management Tips:

  • Prioritise Tasks: Identify the most important tasks and tackle them first. Use a priority matrix to decide what needs immediate attention.
  • Create a Timetable: Plan your study schedule in advance. Include specific times for each subject and adhere to this plan.
  • Avoid Procrastination: Break tasks into smaller, manageable parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating.

Good time management can help you feel more in control and less stressed about exams.


Exam stress is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. If you are often asking yourself ‘How do I get rid of stress?’, remember that everyone is different and what works for one may not work for you. Try incorporating these stress relief techniques and you may find out how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams effectively.

If you need editorial support throughout your academic journey, look no further. You can reduce some of the stress by letting us proofread and edit your academic assignments, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your university life. Get a bespoke quote today or get in touch to learn how we can help.