Someone, somewhere in the world, right now, is worrying about an exam. Indeed, with every  failed revision session and with every forgotten flashcard, stress and anxiety ensues. Moreover, come exam day it’s easy to find yourself up until the early hours of the morning, on the brink of an emotional breakdown because you don’t think you know anything. So with some pointers from, and with the hope to help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes during the exam period, here are 12 IDEAL tips to help you study and stay calm during exams time. 


First things first, try and find out what the exams will be on and perhaps try your hand at some test papers. Ask your lecturer(s) what will be set and what you need to study. While they won’t be able to give you the exact details, they’ll be able to help steer your revision in the right direction.


Many – us included – choose to procrastinate, leaving revision until the last minute. Indeed, procrastination is the enemy of many folks that want to sit down and focus on thier upcoming exams. No matter what you’re doing right now, you could start procrastinating at any point and thus slow down your work. All it takes is a message from a friend on your phone and your focus will spiral out of control and you’ll start looking at something completely unrelated to what you were doing before. Which brings us to our next point…


Find out what distracts you when you’re revising. Do you find yourself singing along to songs? Turn off the music and put on something more relaxing. Are you constantly on your phone? Lock it in a drawer and turn on silent mode. Constantly snacking? Eat a meal before you work to beat cravings. Indeed, distractions are the main cause of procrastination and you need to find ways to get rid of them as best as you can. Furthermore try to work in a separate room to family or housemates, and if possible avoid working in bed, as this can make you feel tired and is not a productive space. Well, not for revising, anyway.


Separating your revision into more manageable chunks, with designated times and targets, serves to break up the monumental task of revising a subject considerably. Make a revision timetable (but don’t spend more than one hour creating it otherwise you’re just procrastinating) and create a daily revision list. Use it to write down everything you need to get done, in order of importance or when it needs doing. Then you can cross it off as you go – try not to let anything roll over. Sad though it may sound, you will feel a real sense of achievement seeing it all ticked off! Revision timetables and lists are one of the best ways to keep on top of your revision.


Set realistic goals for yourself. When studying for an exam,  don’t expect to go through a thick textbook in just 2 hours. Make sure you set realistic expectations so you’re not constantly disappointing yourself.


You can’t be expected to revise for the whole day. Set specific times for your breaks as knowing when you’ll be able to nip out to the shop or eat your lunch will help keep you motivated so you can get certain chunks of revision out of the way first. Then you’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle the next subect with verb and vigour. Indeed, studies have shown that workers are at their most productive when they work at 45-minute spells and then take a 15-minute break. It’s a perfect excuse to go for a walk and get some fresh air.


Learn to take deep breaths – it’s good for your health. Stress and tension during an exam can make you anxious, subsequently affecting your breathing patterns. It can also make you nervous during the paper thus lead to poor performance. Taking deep breaths can help you calm your nerves and manage stress and anxiety. Moreover, it can help you to avoid panic attacks.


To concentrate during your studies, you need to consume healthy foods and drinks. Eating junk food when preparing to study will make you lose focus and feel lethargic. However, consuming healthy foods allows your brain to perform at ideal levels. Fact. Additionally, you need to reduce your intake of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Also drink plenty of water as it will help boost your energy levels.


Sleep is fundamental to every human being. It helps promote good health. Lack of enough sleep can lead to memory loss, stress and depression, nervousness among other negative symptoms. It is crucial you get enough sleep when studying for your exams. It will help relax your mind and body. Also, you will be able to concentrate as you will feel fresh.


Exercising is also another method to stay calm during an exam. Studying for long hours can exhaust your mind and body. As such, you may not be able to understand anything  Stretch, take a walk or pace around your study room to exercise your body. This will help relax your muscles as well as enable you to concentrate on your study material.


Reward yourself when you complete a part of your study material. It will motivate you to keep on studying. Moreover, it will give you time to relax before exams your stress and anxiety levels will be at bay.


Believe in yourself. Have confidence in your capabilities. Trust that you can battle any subject regardless of the challenges that may come with remembering the material.