How can I overcome stress when taking tests?

July 15, 2021
By AdmissionSight

How to Overcome Stress-Related Anxiety and Improve Your Scores

Test-taking is one of the most important skills high schoolers can develop. Not only will it suit you well when you eventually move on to college, but this ability also greatly increases your chances of getting into the college of your choice since it greatly impacts the grades you receive. Unfortunately, even the most talented and hardworking students can struggle immensely with taking tests. Getting lower grades isn’t always a matter of not working hard or not studying sufficiently. For many students, it’s just a matter of nerves. If this sounds familiar, you might be wondering: how can I overcome stress when taking tests?

Find an effective studying schedule

This strategy can make the whole study process significantly easier. However, most students underestimate the sheer importance of having a study plan laid out. It’s always advisable to have a set time during which you’ll study for your exams without any distractions.

a female high school student looking at the camera

Set aside a certain period of time, maybe a few days or an entire week if you need it for each test you need to take and stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things. Since you may forget to keep to your schedule, it’s helpful to set alarms on your phone or computer to ensure you’re staying on top of things.

The key is to designate the time that will be dedicated to studying and nothing else. This can help increase your mastery of the material and settle your nerves by the time the test rolls around.

Study like you’ll teach the material

Have you ever noticed how well teachers understand the material they’re teaching? Well, of course, you have! And they’re not even studying for a test. One of the best ways to ensure the material you’re learning is well understood is to study like you’ll have to teach the subject matter.

After studying the material, try to explain the subject in your own words. This may be done in a study group, with a study partner, or alone. Saying the content out loud can help you understand where you are confused and what contents you require more clarification on.

Find a music study playlist that helps you focus

Music is an excellent way to increase focus for more effective studying sessions while calming nerves that might surround the test-prep process. Nowadays, there are many different types of music available which can help you study better. It’s amazing how this music can instantly turn off all distractions and put you in the zone.

There is a wide variety of software and websites out there such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and others that have any music you could imagine. Do you like slow jazz? You’ll be able to find it! Does lo-fi hip hop put you in the mood to study? You can find it too!

a college student standing in the middle of a hallway and looking at the camera

If you’re not sure what your preference is, simply type in “study music” on Google and you’ll have no trouble finding something that helps. If you’re in a room with other people, don’t forget to get a good pair of headphones so you don’t distract anyone else.

Mix it up with different studying techniques

Let’s face it; studying can get boring. By mixing up techniques, you can keep things fresh and interesting. The more study techniques you use, the bigger of an arsenal you’ll develop. Experimenting will help you determine what works best for you and at what times. For example, you might find that one study technique works when trying to memorize factual statements in a shorter period of time.

On the other hand, you might find that another technique is better when trying to understand something a little more complex. It’s all about finding what works best for you and running with it. Just don’t get too caught up in one or two techniques. Switch things up, find what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to keep shuffling things every once in a while.

Make sure you’re only focusing on one thing at a time

No multitasking! Say it to yourself one more time to make sure it sticks. No multitasking! When you’re trying to learn what some effective studying habits are, you need to make sure that you’re only learning one thing at a time. By dividing your study time into chunks of focus, you will absorb the material better and increase your retention levels.

a college student carrying her things in her arms

First, by dividing your time into chunks of focus, you’re going to find that you’re able to learn a lot more in the long run. To keep the information, you need to be able to remember it. And when you’re trying to cram in as much information as possible, you’re going to find that you don’t remember it all. When you’re only focusing on one thing at a time, you can focus on that thing and completely focus on it.

This means that you’ll be able to learn and retain far more in a shorter time because you’re not wasting your time thinking about what you know. Instead, you’ll be spending your time learning.

Replicate the test setting

Studying in class is very different from studying in the library or at home. Students in the class are often facing time limits, lecture notes, and grading papers. When you’re in a different setting, you can control what you don’t like about the testing environment including the pace.

If you’re a nervous test taker, it’s important not to get rid of these pressures when studying. In fact, it’s imperative to replicate the testing environment the best you can to ensure you’re ready to face the stressors that make you so nervous.

The more you engage with them, the more prepared you’ll be when the test day arrives. Studies have even shown that studying in the same place in which you’ll take an exam can help improve your score. Of course, you won’t have access to your classroom outside of school unless you request some time from a teacher but replicating the environment can work wonders.


Keep your concentration and attention when you are in class. When you leave class, it’s very easy to become distracted and even to fall asleep.

A student taking an exam

This is why you must stay focused and pay attention when you are in class. If you’re unable to keep your focus, it will be much more difficult for you to recall everything you have learned in class.

Take a Break

Don’t make the same mistakes that many students make when studying. For example, some students make the mistake of trying too hard, focusing only on one thing, without even stopping for a break.

These can harm your studying, as studies show that if you force yourself to remember things, you won’t remember them later.

Find the Important Information for the Tests

Make sure that you always make an effort to learn the important information. This is very true for all subjects, not just learning English grammar.

If you want to get the most out of your studies, you must always learn important information. For example, learn the parts of sentences, the parts of vocabulary that you need to know, and the histories of the words.

Take advantage of Group Studies

If you are a student who loves to contact others, there is no easier way than a forum. Forums are a great place to meet with other students.

You can talk about subjects you may have difficulty with, and you can share your ideas. Besides, there is a high possibility that you will receive advice from other students that can help you with your studies.


Create a study plan and make sure that you stick to your plan. It is important to remember that the more organized you are, the better prepared you will be and avoid exams stress.

Many Studier products are designed to help you organize your study and make sure you do not forget important materials.

Don’t Forget to Get Quality Sleep

A good night’s sleep is very important because it gives you the strength to study well. Therefore, it is better to sleep right before the start of the test or examination. However, students need to remember that they need to study efficiently, but they must not sleep too much because this can hamper their focus.

Stay away from distractions

Stay away from the bottomless pit known as Social media. When you are studying, you need to do things that will keep your mind off because you are not paying attention.

While studying, you should do things that will distract you, whether reading a book or playing some games on your computer. Although it is fine to have these distractions, it is much better to completely ignore them. Spend your time studying rather than trying to divert your mind.

Study material before each class

Take excellent notes and go over them with your instructors before each class. This will assist you in being better prepared during the session, but there is more benefit. It will assist you in remembering the information if you hear it repeated back to you.

As the class is ongoing, record whatever is taught. So you may view them later during your study sessions. Take notes during each lesson. Then set out a half-hour later to either re-type them or write them down in a notebook to make them clearer and simpler to understand.

You will recall the high points of each lesson better if you write them down once or twice. You’ll also be able to take readable notes with you when you leave home to study.

Take some quiet time

The importance of silence while studying is a common fact that the student need. It helps the student absorb information with immense concentration and focus, many other factors come into play. For example, there is a great need for the students to have the space to ponder.

Therefore, while absorbed in reading the text, the student has to be unaware of any external distractions. The best way to avoid this situation is by studying in your spare time without interrupting your studies with other activities.

This can be made possible when you set aside some time to do nothing but read during the study period.

Space out your schedule

It’s tempting to put off studying until the last minute, but you’ll be far less likely to remember what you’ve learned this way.

Instead of reserving everything for the week before the test, try to study a little every day to avoid exams stress. This will assist you in avoiding fatigue while also allowing you to recall what you have learned.

Trust in your hard work

It might sound a bit simplistic, but simply trusting in the hard work you’ve already accomplished can work wonders for alleviating some of the stress and pressure you might feel when taking a test. You’ve put hours of research, rehearsal, regurgitation, note-taking, and remembering into this exam. Don’t worry about the outcome. Trust that you’ve done enough to perform well because you most likely already have! You’ve got this.

Be thorough with your reading materials

The biggest problem with students who breeze through studying as if it were a simple task is that they wind up. They take less than the maximum number of exams possible without increasing their chances of passing any of them.

Students should not rush through study materials. Some students see a certain topic as more important than others, so they breeze through the entire chapter to get it over with. In studies, it is important to read a study guide and, take the time to jot down notes as you read.

Be Positive

Effective studying also means having the right mindset for the subject. There are many different types of topics that students can study. Some of these include Business Studies, Law, and other academic subjects.

Other topics that students can study are creative Writing, Math, Art History, and more. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you pick a subject that you will enjoy studying. Otherwise, you may have no motivation to continue Studying.

Take notes for the test

Another effective tip for studying is that you should use notes to avoid exams stress. Use them to jot down everything you hear, read, see and do during your Studying session.

Make sure that they have their notebooks. These notebooks will help students remember everything they have read and jot down notes about what they have heard.

Students can take these notes to memory banks whenever they feel they need them. The other major point here is to stay awake during exam time. Students should take breaks after three hours of study to allow their brains to recover and avoid exam stress.

This way, you will remember all the important information and facts that you need for your studies. Furthermore, notes will help you organize your notes and determine which parts of your studying are more important.


You need to remember that if you want to learn something effectively, you have to put in the effort and dedication required. Also, remember that it is not the quantity that matters but the quality of the most valuable effort. All students can learn from studying if they put in the time and effort.



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