Managing Exam Anxiety

Whether you’re a teenager facing a tough school test or an adult trying to gain a new qualification, exam anxiety is a common struggle. The stress of wanting to succeed but being unsure that you’ll make the grade can take a real toll on your physical and emotional health. To ensure that you are able to calmly face your exam with confidence and perform at your best, follow these steps.


  1. Soothe your mind with scents. Essential oils can be a great tool for reducing anxiety levels and calming a stressed, frazzled mind. Lavender is a particularly popular choice – its beautiful scent is naturally calming, with absolutely no negative side effects. Get yourself a stress-busting combo from Living Vitality Australia and start breathing the scent in whenever you begin to feel the panic rise.
  2. Be prepared. The right preparation should help you feel more confident about your test-taking abilities. It’s normal to feel anxious about an exam if you haven’t studied, so avoid putting yourself in that difficult position by getting ready ahead of time. Do the necessary reading, take plenty of notes, use practice exams to give yourself a dress rehearsal for the real thing, and ask your teachers for help if you’re struggling to grasp some of the material.
  3. Create a structured study plan. To make your preparation as effective as possible, make a schedule to follow in the lead-up to the exam. Make sure you set regular breaks to stop and relax, and plan to include positive activities you enjoy in your days alongside studying. A clear and realistic plan will help you to feel more confident moving forward.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. Sitting up late into the night studying will just leave you feeling exhausted and worn down by the time the big day arrives. If you’re struggling to sleep well because of the fear, set up a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down and get into a peaceful state of mind to sleep. Take a hot bath, do slow breathing exercises, and get into bed early to give yourself plenty of time to rest.
  5. Prevent blood sugar fluctuations. Spikes and drops in blood sugar won’t do anything good for your stress levels. Keep your levels stable by eating fresh, nutritious foods and staying away from processed snacks and fizzy drinks. The right diet will help you to feel more stable and focused, rather than experiencing constant ups and downs in your energy levels.
  6. Go for a run. Take breaks while you’re studying to go out for some vigorous exercise. Working up a sweat will get your heart pounding in a healthy way, and help you release some of that pent up tension. Just remember to refuel with adequate fuel and hydration, and you should find that your anxiety levels are reduced after some proper exercise.
  7. Think positive. When you’re worried about your performance in an exam, it’s common to fall into a spiral of negative thinking. If you find yourself with racing thoughts like, ‘I’m going to fail’, ‘I’m never going to get this right’, and, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ then you’ll find it very difficult to relax and concentrate. Instead, practice positive affirmations and reassure yourself that you do, in fact, have the ability to succeed.