Top tips for beating exam stress

Good food

Plenty of energy-boosting foods e.g. complex carbs such as pasta, rice and potatoes. Raw fruit and vegetables for vitamin and mineral content. If you can’t manage regular meals then substitute with regular and frequent snacks such as sandwiches, jacket potato pasta and a sauce. Bananas are a superfood and will give you both instant sugar and more complex carbohydrates. You can eat a chocolate bar or other sugary snack immediately before an exam.

Keep well hydrated

It is easy not to drink enough water when studying or busy but being well hydrated will help you concentrate and prevent headaches.


Exercise stimulates the cerebellum, which is responsible for learning and is known to be a stress buster. Exercise also helps the body use the extra adrenaline produced during stress and panic.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing is an effective way to stay calm. Take a deep breath in, put your lips together to make a small 0 and let out a soft low steady breath. Now take in a deep breath filling your lungs with clean air, repeat 2-3 times.


Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, avoid overexposure just 10 minutes a day will help you to feel cheerful and relaxed as it stimulates the pineal gland.

Stay Positive

Under stress, it’s easy to feel negative. It may help to make a list of your top 5 qualities or top 5 things you are proud of.


Try to use your mind to visualise that you are sitting at your exam desk, relaxed and completing the exam easily.


Make up a mantra and repeat it several times whilst breathing in and out slowly, such as “I am relaxed, I am in control, I am confident, I can do it."

Don’t panic

Remember all the advice above and remember panic reduces your performance in an exam.


Go to bed at a sensible time, do not work right up until you go to bed, unwind and practice some deep breathing exercises. Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee and drinks containing caffeine. You may think they help you to concentrate during the day but too much caffeine will keep you awake at night and increase your heart rate.


Try and find some time each day to relax, listen to calm relaxing music, relaxation CD and carry out some relaxation exercises.

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