10 Most Frequent Questions from Students about Exam Stress

By Staff Writers

What is it that all students have in common?


Stress inevitably pops up in the list containing the core components of college routine, such as homework overload, pulling all-nighters, partying hard, test-taking, and finding yourself. The truth about being a student is that it can be a mix of different things all faced by a young soul at once – challenging, nerve-wracking, adventurous, so much fun, and… stressful

Basically, attending college is like using a beta version of adulthood. Your life is your responsibility now, but you’re still figuring all of this out. While you will have lots of support when in college, your unique academic experience will depend a lot on how you react to stress, especially during the exam sessions. Below, we have compiled some of the most popular exams stress-related questions that undergrads want answered. We hope to demystify some of the issues and calm your nerves before an exam. 

What causes exam stress?

Exam stress is a real part of college reality for undergrads. Getting ready for tests and exams usually causes anxiety and stress when students worry about doing well at a particular academic level. The key reasons why students stress over exams include expectations of family members and inability to meet them; the pressure that students put on themselves; high competition in class; poor preparation; the element of uncertainty (you never know what questions you may encounter); stressful situations behind the college door, etc.

How to relieve stress before an exam?

Scientific tips that are proven to help you combat exam stress include regular workouts. The latter directly reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Do you stretch? No? Time to start stretching! It is a research-based way to lower blood pressure and tension. When it comes to serotonin levels, you can easily boost those by walking in the sunlight every day. Incorporate regular breathing exercises into your schedule. Cut off sugar and increase your vitamin C intake. Finally, get enough sleep. One of the best free medicines ever is getting an adequate amount of sleep at night.

What is exam stress management?

The term stress management roofs the techniques, strategies, and tools that help battle stress and reduce its negative impacts on physical and mental health. Attending yoga class, staying away from perfectionism, meditation, submerging in cold water, caffeine cut, happiness visualization, and creating a gratitude list are some of the tried and tested tools to live a more stress-free life amidst the exam sessions hell.

Is exam stress good for you?

Ok, ok, this sounds weird. But there’s something you should know. When we’re experiencing what is called stress, it is actually the process of preparing us for the upcoming challenge. Not only does it supply more oxygen to the brain but it also helps us to focus on the task at hand and be more determined. The soccer player needs to be “stressed” to score the goals. You sitting in a college exam room are in exactly the same situation. Except for you not wearing those cute long socks.

How exam stress affects students?

Intense feelings of stress can cause a lot of different mental conditions, such as panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, self-harming, low self-esteem, and even suicidal thoughts. In general, exams stress might be associated with the following:

  • Feeling reluctant to go to college or talk about exams;

  • Being overly self-critical due to mistakes made in exams or tests;

  • Complaining of physical health conditions like headaches or stomach aches;

  • Having mood swings (feeling angry and next moment acting as if nothing happened);

  • Being obsessive with exam preparation without taking any breaks (usually skipping meals as well).

Can exam stress delay your period?

Since stress is known to disrupt hormonal patterns, it can delay your period. When your body is experiencing high levels of stress, its hormones put off important phases of the menstrual cycle, such as ovulation. As a result, you have an irregular or missed period. Primitively speaking, you’re freaking out about your upcoming exam. At the same time, your reproductive system is like, “OK, all these term papers, quizzes, and research reports leave no time for having a baby” and…takes a break. The good news here is that your period will come back sooner or later.

Can exam stress cause hair loss?

Yes, stressing over exams can stand behind hair loss problems. The type of stress known as telogen effluvium puts a great number of hair follicles into the so-called resting phase. Fortunately, this is a temporary issue. When the stress factor is gone, your hair will begin to re-grow. However, the process takes time. For a better understanding of your health condition, contact a trichologist.

Can exam stress cause fever?

Absolutely, yes. Both chronic and acute stress can cause a range of symptoms that are similar to fever. For instance, conditions like flushed skin, body chills, and high body temperature can become consequences of being exposed to emotional events like college exams. The so-called psychogenic fever can become your reality in a stressful situation. However, it usually happens to young women.

When exam stress becomes too much…

…you start noticing the symptoms like a racing heartbeat, teeth grinding, shortness of breath, insomnia, dizziness, feeling on edge or depressed, sex problems, using alcohol, drugs, etc. These are the warning signs that signal it’s time to seek professional help.

What type of stress is exam stress?

In the field of psychology, stress is divided into three main types, such as acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. When it comes to exam stress, it falls into the second category – episodic acute stress. That’s the type of stress that kicks in on a regular basis. An example of stress triggers here is the tight essay deadline or getting ready for the exam.

To do away with college exams and stay sane, ensure to be honest and realistic with yourself. All of a sudden high school is over and you find yourself in an unpredictable scenario with unexpected plot twists. A rule of thumb here is to self-scan on a frequent basis and look for a therapist’s help and support from loved ones when stress is too much to bear. 

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TakeCareStudy is committed to delivering valuable mental health content. We are covering all topics that have to do with students wellbeing, academic success and relationship matters.

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