• Surviving Exams

    Is This You?

    • Two weeks left to do a semester's reading... and papers were due yesterday!
    • Sleep is something vaguely remembered...
    • Exercise means dragging yourself from your desk to the soda machine and back...
    • Chips, candy bars, and coffee are mainstay of your diet.
    • You've lost your concentration and problem-solving abilities.
    • Feeling helpless and overwhelmed is an everyday occurrence.
    • All of the above can be symptoms of "exam anxiety" -- a common ailment among students!

    What causes or contributes to exam anxiety?

    • Putting off assignments or studying
    • Too little exercise
    • Skipping meals/snacking on junk food
    • Caffeine/sugar overload
    • Letting fears get blown out of proportion
    • Feeling unsure of yourself and your abilities 

    What You Can Do:  


    • Learn and consistently use good time management skills to help you plan and organize your workload for the semester. Procrastination is an easy trap without a well thought out and structured approach.
    • Maintain good health habits to reduce stress and increase your mental and physical energy. Include a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, daily relaxation, adequate sleep, and some activities just for fun.
    • Be aware of those negative thoughts/messages that can cause you to lose a positive perspective. Remember past successes. Be realistic regarding expectations. Deal in facts, not assumptions.
    • Take advantage of social support to help keep morale high. Friends can help boost your confidence and give you a good balance between work and play. 


    • Stop studying an hour before your exam. Go for a run, listen to relaxing music, visit a friend.
    • Once in class, avoid discussing what you have and have not studied. Stretch a little, take some deep breaths, give yourself a positive message ("I'm prepared -- I'll do my best").
    • Read through the entire exam before starting. Gauge your time and assure yourself that there is a lot you can answer. Skip items you are not sure of -- then return later.
    • When finished, just sit back and relax for 3-5 minutes -- then recheck the exam.
    • Reward yourself with an enjoyable activity before starting to study for your next exam.