Managing Post-Exam Stress


We know many university students are at the tail end of writing university exams right now. If this is your last round of exams in your university career, congratulations to you for surviving! If this is the first time you’ve been through this process, welcome to the journey.

Writing exams can be tough, and you are not alone in your anxiety and stress. And once the exams are written, the stress doesn’t necessarily stop!

We’re going to cover some tips on managing that post-exam stress when there’s nothing more you can do but sit and wait for your marks. 

Acknowledge your feelings

You will likely feel a whole range of emotions when you’ve finally put your last exam or paper to bed. Relief, anxiety, curiosity, and even panic. This range of emotions is completely normal and a common experience for everyone at some point in school. The key to managing these emotions is acknowledging them and giving yourself some grace to feel them. By validating your feelings, you can begin to find healthy ways to cope with them.  

Engage in self-care

Taking good care of yourself after a highly stressful event is a must-do. But prioritizing your well-being and mental health can be tricky when you don’t know where to begin. Try journaling or meditating/deep breathing exercises. Spend time with friends or exercise to get those endorphins flowing. Even just going for a long walk on a warm spring evening can have an immediate impact on your stress levels.  

Reflect on your performance

Try to take a constructive approach when thinking about how you did on your exams. What did you do well? What could you improve upon? What will you do differently next time? University is not just a place to get that coveted degree. It’s also a place where you learn how to learn. And learning is a lifelong process – which evolves. By “removing” yourself from the situation and looking at it reflectively, you may gain new insights about your academic performance that will surprise you. 

Seek support

You should never feel like you’re alone during this period. Reach out to family and friends and ask for support. If things feel like they’re beyond your control, don’t be afraid to seek out a mental health professional. There are university counselling services and online support groups that can provide wonderful resources to help you navigate this time. 

By acknowledging your feelings, reflecting on how you did, engaging in self-care and asking for support, you will have some good strategies to help you manage your post-exam stress. Remember, this anxiety is normal, and taking of YOU and your mental health is just as important as your academic performance. 

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