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6 Tips to Beat Final Exam Stress


Stressed Out College Girl

Have you ever seen a stress-free college student? I haven’t, unless you count the freshmen who mess up the first half of the semester, say “screw it” to the rest and never attend class again. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Stress is a huge part of the college experience, and it’s something we all have to deal with in life. We don’t, however, have to let it get the best of us.

This may come as a shock, but stress DOES NOT have to take over your life, no matter how many finals you have. You can still do well on your tests without wanting to die for an entire week.

I know this is a fashion site, but it’s also a site about college life, and finals are a huge part of that. Here are my top tips for keeping stress at a minimum during your hectic final exams week that is probably happening right now or very soon at your school.

Just for the record, these tips actually work, and the list doesn’t include any cliche’ crap that doesn’t, like “deep breathing exercises”.

1. Avoid stressful people.

Stress actually is contagious. During exam week, resist the urge to have a study session with your super-tense friend, especially if she’s complaining about all the work she has to do and breaking pencils all over the place. Her stress will only add to your stress.

2. Eat healthy and exercise.

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a wonder how many people forget it. Skip the sugar, which will make you crash, and go for snacks like granola bars, healthy cereal or fruits and veggies to keep your blood sugar stable. If you’re studying for a long period of time, eat some protein too. Also, try to get some form of exercise. Even a 10 minute walk will leave you calmer and more focused.

3. Just say NO.

I don’t mean to drugs, although I’m not recommending them or anything. What you need to say no to are the people who want to take up your time. There will probably be a friend who needs to talk to you for hours about her life, or a keg party the night before your final, and if you say yes, you’ll probably be tempted to blow off studying. Resist the urge. Say no to the distractions and be selfish for a day. You want a good GPA, right?

4. Force yourself to take breaks.

For every hour or so that you work, take a 10 or 15 minute break. Let yourself do whatever you want (check Facebook, check out that guy sitting nearby, stare off into space, call a friend, etc.) for those 10-15 mins, then start working again. This gives your brain a little rest and will help keep you more focused when you are actually doing work.

5. Visualize it all going right.

This is actually my favorite tip of all, even though it sounds kind of nuts. Imagine yourself taking the test and feeling confident that you know all the information. Picture getting all of the answers right, and focus on how relaxed you feel. Then picture the A on your test paper. When you imagine a happy ending, that’s often what happens, because you make the decisions that lead to it without even realizing.

6. If you’ve studied all you can, get up your confidence!

When test-time rolls around, it’s time to get yourself into confidence mode. You’ve prepared as much as you could, and now it’s time to ace the test. The tip here is to do whatever works to convince yourself you are going to do really well. Again, I know this tip sounds a little crazy but you just have to try it for yourself. I think you’ll like the results.

What do you think?

Do you like these tips? Do you think they’d work for you? Do you do anything similar when you study? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Posted on on May 1, 2007 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: ,

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88 Responses to “6 Tips to Beat Final Exam Stress”

  1. 1
    August 20th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    I just got back from an online exam on campus. See, I had this US History course online. It was difficult, but I answered everything to the best I could. I heard that if you leave any blank spots, you’ll lose. I had a few essay questions, two 30pt ones, one which I could answer. I did answer the smaller point essays too.

    So, I now pray….give me a passing grade. :)

  2. 2
    December 18th, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Very good post, thanks!

  3. 3
    February 21st, 2009 at 4:03 pm


    This information I will give you might be a little cheesy, but they really work (are proven),are great and are things that will not cost you any time.

    * The first thing I really have to say and I know everyone knows it, but it’s true and really helps: Drink a lot of water. Nothing distracts you more than being thirsty so drink a lot of water during the period you are having tests (actually always). It’s good for your brain so you will be able to concentrate more. And a big plus is that the bags underneath you’re eyes won’t look that bad! You’ll feel fresher (at least i know i do). And i alwys tend to eat more during the testweek..well water makes you feel less hungry –> not adding unnessecary pounds :D
    * Take a lot of breaks! You actually need them so you’re brains can process the information you’re learning. And during you’re break, don’t watch any TV, but do some exercises. you will be surprised of how well you will be able to concentrate afterwards. If you have studied 50 minutes, take just 10 minutes off and sinds you’re probably wearing you’re sweats go for a run! The fresh air will do you a lot of good either, so it’s all positive influence on you’re brain and concentration. You will probably be done earlier..:D
    * Another thing: don’t learn anymore 1 hour before the test–> the last things you learn you will focus on a lot before the test and you will remind better, which will make you forget the other things you’ve learned. Now i know it’s not like you will completely forget it, but will have trouble to remind it and use it correctly + it takes a lot of time too.
    * You learn better after having slept..because you’re brain are fresher. So even if you can sleep for 4 hours..try to do it. actually you have to sleep good the night before the test, but since it’s from earlier that we students tend to study for a test the nights before, you might try studying till 00.00 go to bed untill 04.00 or 06.00 and then get up and repeat everything you’ve learned for the test.

    Sincerely yours,


  4. 4
    April 14th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I would suggest using this:

    It has been an excellent resource for me in finding class notes and networking with other students.

    Hope this helps!

  5. 5
    May 18th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    omg finals are SO STRESSFUL. i have an entire $15,000 scholarship hinging on this stupid algebra final tomorrow. and it was all good till my stupid teacher crammed 2 chapters into the last class period before the final.
    ive tried so hard but unfortunately i think i may have to re-take the class :(

  6. 6
    September 20th, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Well, I’m not going through finals, but the first tests and an extremely stressful week, so I’m definately trying this tips. Thanks, Zephyr!

  7. 7
    December 16th, 2009 at 6:21 am

    i am studying .As the exams starts i am in great stress i am not be able to get sleep even an hour if i take bed then i am not be able to sleep.sgeest some ways to get wonderful sleep beforre exam…..

  8. 8
    January 6th, 2010 at 5:09 am

    thank you so much for this post

    I`m a medicine-student from Zurich (CH) and our exams start on January 18th…I’ m really about to go entirely banana….it’s my first term and I’m so afraid and nervous and everything, but tip 5, the visualizing thing, did catch my attention….maybe it will help =) I really hope so

    all the best

  9. 9
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    i hope this works

  10. 10
    April 21st, 2010 at 1:05 am

    the tips u have presented here are extrordinary
    so far i had a feeling that stress is something which affects a limited number of students. after reading the first point i came to know that it is common to all .there is no one exeption to it . by reading the line i was very happy to know a thing which cleared a feeling that troubling me

  11. 11
    June 19th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    this is encouraging lol{ laugh out loud}

  12. 12
    June 23rd, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Noticed you’re talking about exams, which can get really tiring and stressful. Check this out for a stress relief: – Jessica’s (humorous) daily affirmation.


  13. 13
    August 5th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    hey …all your tips were really usefull and makes real sence.i will with what you say.

    thanks alot

  14. 14
    August 8th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    nice suggestion..i will follow them

  15. 15
    August 8th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    nice suggestion.. i’ll try
    Desktop PC

  16. 16
    October 31st, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    hey thanks there…………..u knw i jst had entrance exams for medicine…………….whooh…exhaustin………

  17. 17
    November 27th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    hi these tips ae good and applicable because some of the tips i have use myself while i had my final exams of masres of arts.
    But one thoght that friquently comes in my mind at the time of eac exams that is what do i know?what will i write ?will i be able to recall what i have learnt?thse kind of doubting questions arises everytime no matter how good the prepration is.i msure that it is not due to lack of confidence on my ownself bcz i have a great faith in my own self.what else it could be?please tell me.

  18. 18
    December 2nd, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    liked these tips…have exams in like 2 months…hope they work :)

  19. 19
    December 6th, 2010 at 12:10 am

    “Another thing: don’t learn anymore 1 hour before the test–> the last things you learn you will focus on a lot before the test and you will remind better, which will make you forget the other things you’ve learned. Now i know it’s not like you will completely forget it, but will have trouble to remind it and use it correctly + it takes a lot of time too.”

    I hate this “advice”. It’s not true. I’ve had exams where I learned something 5 minutes before the test and it helped me ace the exam.

  20. 20
    January 9th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not in college but i’m a freshman in high school taking all honors and i’m really nervous for finals! this advice helped tho, thanks! did anyone one think high school finals for honors classes were really hard or is it easy?

  21. 21
    February 22nd, 2011 at 1:40 am

    i’m in 2nd pu frm karnataka .. i realli loved these tipz…. thanz a lot fo it…=) for i got board xamz!!!!! once again thanx a lot <3

  22. 22
    March 12th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Hi, I really found these tips helpful for me so thumbs up to the person who made this article! Thank you so much :D Please pray for me to do well for tomorrow’s exam

  23. 23
    April 10th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    all the 6 tips are fantastic and applicable
    really helpful to me

  24. 24
    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:49 pm


  25. 25
    June 30th, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Great tips,i blogged this.

  26. 26
    August 5th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I am a physics student (undergrad junior) in India. i think the following really helps(at least me anyway)

    1.try studying in the morning, the environment is much calmer and all silly people tending to disturb you would not be up before you get a solid chunk of studying .

    2. I am not a person comfortable with this setting goals business and do not find it of much use . in my case those failed goals cause further worry and if I carry out those goals I am certain to feel I have left myself with too small goals to finish the syllabus.

    3.try to not buy too much books it tends to confusion.

    I had a course on classical mechanics and bought every conceivable books like landau, taylor,goldstein, marion, sommerfeld, kibble, gregory etc but was just overwhelmed, whenever i saw any new topics that was not in other books i felt i outta know it and soon I was frustrated.

    4. Engage in facebook in the night before exam (or better tweet your feelings , nobody reads them anyway) in the day before the exam and blow off steam.

  27. 27
    October 20th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    i want more!!

  28. 28
    November 25th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Wonderful tips I am a Public Health student in KMTC Nairobi campus year two and I know the tips will help me. Thanks for the tips. Amen.

  29. 29
    December 22nd, 2011 at 9:56 am


  30. 30
    January 24th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    just chillax college buds. exams on work is more stressful than school test. look, il be taking an online exam. 1 hour to go.. really. what u have to do is read and stuck it on ur brain. that’s it! hope for the best! things happen for a reason so getting A or F (hooppe nooot) just be it. u will certainly learn from it!

  31. 31
    February 9th, 2012 at 1:12 am

    I m an undergrad science student.. I just screwed my exam today, I don’t know what is wrong with me.. I forget everything as I enter the exam hall.. I used to be a very good student but now all my confidence has gone.. Feeling like a dumb.. The ppl i used to consider not so intelligent are scoring like anything.. I have nothing left with.. feeling so empty…

  32. 32
    February 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I was so despondent this evening. So I Googled stress and exams…and read this! Thank you. It really is very helpful and I agree with all you’ve suggested. When I read about the “avoid stressed out people” I just sighed, ’cause I’ve had just that for the past 7 days at a temporary job – everyone in management is so stressed out you can cut it with a knife! Not what I needed a week before writing 2 very important exams (at the age of 44). So, thanks a mill.

  33. 33
    February 13th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Hey am 4th yr nursing studnt in KMTC kitui campus i thnk diz tipz wil help me alot thnx

  34. 34
    April 15th, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    My final exams for my first year are this week…was feeling terribly down and so many of the others I googled exams and stress.. and was directed to these fantastic tips. Hopefully I do well :D Thank you for you healthy eating tips, I just realized how much junk I’ve been eating while studying!

  35. 35
    April 16th, 2012 at 3:24 am

    “Just say NO….I don’t mean to drugs”

    At a time that seems so dark (aka finals week)…I actually laughed.

    Thanks for the tips.

  36. 36
    April 30th, 2012 at 7:08 am

    really ur tips are stress busting……..thank u

  37. 37
    May 10th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Cal 2 final tomorrow… flipping female balls… well trying not to thanks to your great tips!

  38. 38
    May 14th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Ok his will get me through my final exam…..I hope….. I’m in 7th grade by who gives a crap? And I think that math is the hardest so when I take it and before I will follow these steps. Ty for your help. And now I’m going to Ace that test!

  39. 39
    May 22nd, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    thai chi, yoga

    Some food suplements can help: Lecithin, Extract from Bacopa monnieri leaf, phospholipids, vinpocetine,huperzin A,gingko, vitamin B, vitamin C, DMAE, Phosphadyl serine, royal gelly …

  40. 40
    June 20th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    it works for me n i think i should do that every of my examination so i could get more marks

  41. 41
    July 19th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    This is fantastic!

  42. 42
    September 28th, 2012 at 6:31 am

    This website has helped me a lot !
    exams start in 3 days for me !!!!!!!!!!

  43. 43
    September 30th, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I have my 1st trimester on 10th sept and 9 days remaining, your tips did help me by giving it a boost. thanks … I am nervous because m the only one in family to earn, n this is my last chance to study. m persuing my 2 year full time MBA in India.

  44. 44
    October 5th, 2012 at 12:34 am


  45. 45
    November 5th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    So stressed still, only hjave like less than 2 weeks left and havnt practised much.

  46. 46
    December 8th, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Final exam week within 2 days!! Thanks for the tips!!

  47. 47
    December 14th, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Man I’m gonna try this, I’m going through a tough time in my exam, I’ve failed for my first time last time but I WILL do well this once

  48. 48
    January 11th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I’ve got 3 exams coming up, on HUGE project due in 5 days that I haven’t started, and on top of that, I have issues and problems with my Family, and relationships. So much I can’t take it, I’ve considered suicide. :'(

  49. 49
    March 25th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Ehm actually the tips here are really motivating and thanks for these tips they have been helpful

  50. 50
    April 16th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    My huge exam is tomorrow, actually it is the checkpoint exam, the thing that stresses me out is that I am new to this system I’ve never studied it before, and when I went to apply to a new school they gave me absolutely nothing to study from, so I depended on the past papers and I really think that it is not enough, and I really feel that I’m going to fail ;((((

  51. 51
    May 30th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I have a final exam for my math class on Tuesday morning.. Im so nervous! i need to pass this exam so i can pass the class and graduate! Im like freaking out about it and Im for sure using these tips to get through it! thank you!

  52. 52
    August 20th, 2013 at 1:10 am

    day after tomorrow is my first year exam… I was very tensed about it and couldnot sleep properly at night also……. After reading this page m feeling much better and lot more confident…thank you

  53. 53
    October 27th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    If your really stressing out, try making study more fun and less of a chore. Talk with your friends on how they are going and maybe get together and test each other as a game. My friends and I like using custom flashcards to play games. But, if your friends are more stressed then you then maybe avoid them and play study games with yourself! As it says above “Avoid Stressful People” because this does help!
    If you want more ideas you should try looking online for study games or even try use your iPad to look in the app store for apps that use “flashcard” or “flashcard games”.
    Stress less and good luck everyone!

  54. 54
    October 27th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    If you’re really stressing out, try making study more fun and less of a chore. Talk with your friends on how they are going and maybe get together and test each other as a game. My friends and I like using custom flashcards to play games. But, if your friends are more stressed then you then maybe avoid them and play study games with yourself! As it says above “Avoid Stressful People” because this does help!
    If you want more ideas you should try looking online for study games or even try use your iPad to look in the app store for apps that use “flashcard” or “flashcard games”.
    Stress less and good luck everyone!

  55. 55
    January 22nd, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    thanks so much for this!

  56. 56
    November 23rd, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Your article has some valid points, thanks I also enjoy your writing style. ;-)

    What most people don’t realize is that studying and learning should never be too difficult. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what it’s like. You know the feeling: you go to class, get a ton of homework, then spend hours and hours reading over your notes, trying to memorize everything in a mad panic before your next exam.

    Not only is this stressful, but studying this way is both time consuming and a huge waste of energy. But the good news is, studying doesn’t have to be this difficult.

  57. 57
    February 14th, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Superb tips which s applicable for every student, these tips just cleared away all my fear n tension about final exams, thank you sooo much….

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