How to Relive Stress Before an Exam

Woman with long hair studying

Whether you’re in high school or medical school, studying for exams is exhausting and stressful. Some stress is unavoidable, but too much stress can be bad for your mental health and your grades. Here are our top tips on how to get rid of stress before an exam.


Studies proved that there are in fact certain foods that you can eat that will help with stress and anxiety. While you may initially think to reach for the caffeine to stay awake to study, that can actually heighten your stress levels. Look for healthier foods that will keep you alert, calm, and boost your brainpower.

Foods that help with that are dark chocolate, berries, sweet potatoes, fish, nuts, and vegetables.  Magnesium rich foods can regulate emotions so also add in foods like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, and bananas into your daily diet to help with lowering cortisol levels.

Instead of coffee, make some tea. Black and Green Tea can also help reduce levels of cortisol after performing a stressful task.


Exercise is a great way to become stress free before an exam.

Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

Even better is if you can get outside for a walk or a run. Within minutes of exposure to nature, your stress levels will go down as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity. Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.

This can contribute to optimism for your upcoming exam. Not to mention if you become happier with your body over the time you spend exercising, it can boost your confidence in all aspects of life- making you feel like you can take on anything.


Ironically, one of the main factors students are stressed before an exam is that they don’t study enough. Being prepared for an exam will make you less nervous and more confident. As tempting as it may be, don’t cram the night before.

When you’re sitting down to study, reduce distractions. This is obvious but important. If you find yourself constantly checking your phone, or going to websites that aren’t part of your studying, there are apps that help you control yourself like Freedom. Freedom allows you to choose and schedule what distracting apps to block at certain times. Whether you use Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, or Chrome, Freedom can sync blocks across all of your devices.

There are even study playlists on Spotify that can help you keep your focus and your zen. Next time you’re studying, pull up the playlists “Brain Food,” “Totally Stress Free,” or “Intense Studying.”

Taking more time to be intentional with your studying will ultimately rid stress before your exam.


Women Sleeping on top of book

As a student it can often be hard to get to bed at a reasonable time, and this may be a huge contributing factor to why you’re feeling stressed before your exam! For major exam stress relief, get in a quality sleep routine.

Cut off all distractions at least 30 minutes before bed and try to avoid ever studying in your bed- this can unconsciously lead you to forming an association between your bed and stress, making it even harder to catch some Z’s.

Make sure your room is dark and cool and you stick to a routine that’s doable for your schedule. For example if you tell yourself you will go to sleep at 9 pm every night but your roommates all watch a T.V. show together until 10 pm, it’s likely you won’t stick to your schedule. Be flexible but also be realistic.

We hope our tips on how to get rid of stress free before an exam will help you to ace your next test!