Exam… the word alone can give us sweaty palms. But while a little bit of stress is good for us, if we get too much it stops us performing our best and thinking straight. If you’re aware of the exam stress symptoms it makes it easier to spot if everything’s getting on top of you.

Exam Stress Symptoms

We all get stressed in the run-up to exams or tests, but it’s good to keep tabs on how you’re feeling so you can spot longer periods of stress if you feel the work's piling up:

  • Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Constant tiredness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Increased anxiety and irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness

If you've noticed three or more of the above symptoms and you've experienced them for a few weeks you may need to do something about your stress levels.

How to Manage Exam Stress

Learn to recognise when you're stressed. A break from the books or the screen could help and a chat with someone who knows what you’re going through will get things into perspective. Get some air, go for a 10-minute walk – that often gives your mind a chance to chill. 

Eat right. Eat fresh fruit and veg and have proper breakfasts – all of that will fuel your brain and make you feel better when the exams are all over.

Sleep well. Have at least half an hour’s wind down before bed – get out of your room and treat your bed as a sanctuary, somewhere to relax and make sure you get your eight hours of sleep per night.

Exercise. Nothing de-stresses the mind faster than physical activity, so build it into your study timetable. It may seem ridiculous to take time out of memorising quotes or theories, but your health and your grades will be all the better for it.