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5 ways to manage stress during exams

31 May 2023
Take it easy
Exam season can be stressful, but there are some simple strategies you can apply to manage your stress and anxiety during this time. Here are five ways to de-stress during exams and help you finish your year of study on a high note.

It's no secret exams can be stressful. While we can't remove the source of stress, we can share some tips to help you manage during exam time. Here are five simple ways to de-stress before, during and after your exams.

5 simple steps to help you manage your stress levels this exam season



Research shows that rest and relaxation maximises academic performance, even during exams. It may seem simple, but getting enough sleep is a big factor in reducing stress levels. It's recommended you get at least eight hours of sleep a night, but if you can manage nine or ten hours that's even better.

It's also important to wind down at least one hour before you intend to sleep, by reading a book, listening to music or meditating. 

Have trouble sleeping? Check out these science-backed tips on how to sleep better from Headspace.


Move your body 

Doing physical activity, even if it's just for a few minutes each day, can help improve your mental health, reduce stress levels and even prolong your life

There are plenty of ways to stay active during exam time. It could be as simple as a stroll to your local café, walking to meet a friend on the other side of campus or dedicating 15 minutes to do a home workout. 

Need some inspiration? Check out these easy exercises to stay study fit



While staying connected with friends and family online can help keep you motivated during exam time, excessive screen time can add to your stress levels and even reduce your cognitive capacity to complete tasks.  

Studies have shown that taking as little as a five-minute break to step away from your computer and devices will refresh your mind and help you refocus.

To help you manage exam stress and study more effectively, try switching off notifications or enabling 'do not disturb' on your smartphone during study hours. 



Practising deep and mindful breathing can help relieve stress almost instantly.

Whether you're studying in the library or in the exam room, you can use breathing techniques to help manage your stress levels. 

New to mindful breathing? Why not start with the simplest breathing technique – take five deep breaths. Start by counting 1 on the slow inhale through the nose, 2 on the long exhale through the mouth, 3 on the inhale, 4 on the exhale, 5 on the inhale and release.

Discover more breathing excersises to reduce stress from Headspace


Be present

Try not to dwell on your performance post-exam. Rather, be proud of yourself for sitting the exam – it's no easy feat!

If you plan to meet up with friends afterwards, agree that you will only speak about the exam for a short while so you can be present in the now, wind down, and relax.

Don't forget there's a range of support available to you through the University, from free and confidential counselling, to peer support from current students and academic support. The Library also offers learning and wellbeing support around exam time through their Exam Ready program

Last updated 23 May 2024.