4 tips to overcome exam anxiety

Exam season can be very stressful, no matter how hard you have worked. It’s normal to go through moments of feeling stressed about your exams, especially if you are a little under-prepared. How can you overcome feeling anxious about exams? Here are my tips.

What’s exam anxiety?

Exam anxiety’s that intense feeling of panic you get before or during exams. It can be overwhelming and cause you to forget even the simplest things, which is why it’s important to find ways to stay calm around exam time.

Give yourself enough time to study            

Exam anxiety can get worse if you didn’t give yourself enough time to prepare for your exam. Set aside enough time to go over your work in as much detail as you need, and find additional reading material to help you understand the really difficult concepts. Being prepared for your exam helps you feel calmer and more confident, reducing any feelings of anxiousness and panic. 

Ask questions

Panic can take over if you don’t really understand what you’re going to write about, which is why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your teachers for clarity. Asking your teachers and classmates for help when you get stuck will make it easier to unpack those difficult topics and ease your exam stress. You can also find extra assistance on the internet or by watching videos on Youtube.

No exam discussions

On the morning of your exam, try to get a bit of quiet time. Avoid being around people who are studying or talking about the exam at the last minute as this may cause you to panic. Discussing the exam before and after it’s been written can make you think about all the things you may have not studied, causing unnecessary stress and panic.


If you find yourself feeling anxious during an exam, take a moment to do some breathing exercises. This will help you calm down and focus on the present moment, instead of worrying about failing. Once you’ve cleared your head, tackle each question as best as you can, starting with the easiest ones and leaving the most difficult ones for last.

Although it’s only the first term, being prepared now will make it easier to cope with stress when writing final exams at the end of the year. Remember that preparation, asking for help and adopting positive coping skills beforehand, can help ease anxiety during exams. However, if you’re struggling with a more severe form of anxiety, then you’ll need to speak to a medical professional or contact SADAG for help.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).