Don’t Panic! 3 Tips to Stay Calm on Exam Day

A female college student stays calm on exam day by preparing for her test with notes.

Congratulations — you made it to the last week of the semester! You’re likely feeling relieved that all or most of your coursework is completed and looking forward to the upcoming holiday break. Or maybe, with final exams around the corner, you’re not feeling ready to celebrate just yet.  

Finals are often a time of high anxiety for many students, no matter what age or subject. A good portion of your final grades often rests on these test scores and can leave you feeling far more anxious than usual. But not to fear! There are things you can do to set yourself up for success academically and mentally, so no matter what happens, you can go into your exams feeling prepared and at peace.

1. Take time to prepare.

Studying leading up to an exam will keep the information fresh and help you feel more confident going into exam day. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to study in the way that works best for you, whether it’s through more traditional methods like flashcards and practice tests (Quizlet is a great, free resource for making both) or through study groups with friends. Don’t be afraid to try creative methods to help you remember the content, like setting your study guide to music and making a song or mnemonic. 

Study for a few days leading up to your exams and for a few hours the night before — but be sure to stop and get a full night’s sleep! If you don’t take care of yourself physically, you won’t be able to do your best mentally, no matter how much you prepare. So, get lots of rest!

How can you prepare?

  1. Flashcards
  2. Practice tests
  3. Study tools like Quizlet
  4. Group study sessions
  5. Memory techniques
  6. Rest


For more study tips and ideas, check out this article!

2. Keep things in perspective.

Leading up to an exam, it can feel like everything is hinging on how well or how poorly you do. You may feel like the world might end if you don’t do well, or that your entire future is hanging in the balance. However, stressing yourself out won’t help you do better.

Being overly worried about your performance will only decrease your focus, your ability to rest and your test score! Remember that this is one grade (albeit a big one), and no matter what happens, this test doesn’t determine your future. God does. So do your best to stay calm, and be at peace. It’s going to be okay! 

For more tips on how to combat exam nerves and get through the week, check out this blog!

3. Stay in the moment. 

While taking your exam, it can be easy to get caught up in your nerves and get distracted by other thoughts or concerns. Remember to stay in the moment as much as you can. As simple as it seems, focusing on the task at hand will help you direct all your energy to doing well on the exam and not be anxious or distracted. 

Some great ways to do this are praying, using breathing techniques to stay grounded in the moment and focusing on one question at a time. Stop and pray to help calm and refocus your thoughts, and ask Christ to help you. Then, take a deep breath and focus on your surroundings (where you’re sitting, what you’re hearing, etc.). Take the exam one question at a time and allow yourself to forget everything else — just do your best and remember to breathe!

How can you stay in the moment?

  1. Pray
  2. Take a deep breath, or three
  3. Notice your surroundings
  4. Focus on one question at a time
  5. Trust God


After your exam, let yourself relax. You did all you could to prepare, study, rest and stay in the moment. Try not to get lost thinking about what you could’ve done differently or agonizing over what your grade is — it will be what it will be, and you can be at peace knowing you did your best. Remember, no matter how you did, God, not your test scores, ultimately dictates your future. So, rest easy, and trust Him!