Studying for tests and exams can cause a great deal of stress for any student, as they begin to feel the pressure to do well and the need to study harder. Acknowledging when your stress levels are too high and managing any excess stress you are dealing with is critical – not only during your studies, but also for your overall wellbeing.

Recognising any triggers that might cause stress and stopping any negative spiraling will help you to take control of your state of mind and manage your stress.

Managing stress and anxiety is crucial for you as you try to balance the challenges and pressures of academics, social interactions, and personal growth.

The following tips and strategies can help you gain control of your stress levels, and create a more relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to studying.

1. Time Management

Try creating a study schedule that allows for breaks and leisure activities, as well as breaking your day into smaller study sessions.

Proper time management reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by tasks, and even helps motivate you! As you tick off each study session or goal you complete, you can reward yourself with a break.

Setting goals in your study schedule will help you to know when you need to complete certain tasks; and give you a sense of accomplishment when you do!

2. Healthy Lifestyle

It is vital to ensure that you maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get sufficient sleep while you are studying.

Your physical well-being greatly affects mental health, and studying for long periods of time, without a jog outside or enough sleep, will negatively affect your stress levels, and significantly decrease your productivity.

Your brain needs energy to work at peak performance while studying, so make sure you eat enough ‘brain’ foods, like proteins, nuts, green veggies and assorted fruit!

3. Hobbies and Interests

It is important for you to engage in activities you are passionate about whilst studying. Pursuing hobbies and interests outside of studying provides a sense of purpose and enjoyment. Remind yourself to have fun, and schedule time in your study schedule to engage in activities that bring you joy.

These activities can include creative activities like art, writing, music, or other hobbies that provide an outlet for your emotions. Coping strategies, such as journaling, listening to music, or engaging in physical activities, are also important to prioritise and engage with while you are studying. The goal is to strike a balance between work and leisure, and incorporating these kinds of hobbies and interests will help lower your stress and anxiety levels.

4. Positivity and Relaxation

Try to combat negative spiralling and destructive thought patterns by paying attention to your state of mind. When these negative thoughts start, try to manage them by either taking a break from your studies: get some exercise, or visualize how you will feel when you succeed and achieve your goals.

It is important to stop what you are doing and take a moment to deal with these thoughts. This will ensure that your stress levels stay low, and allow you to focus on your studies, without feeling overwhelmed. Deep breathing techniques and muscle stretches can also help you overcome negative thoughts and reduce anxiety.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

It is also essential to learn how to break down problems into smaller, manageable steps, and then focus on finding solutions to these smaller challenges one step at a time. This practical tool will equip you to handle challenges more effectively, when they arise.

Try to limit striving for perfectionism. It’s okay not to be perfect. In most cases, striving for perfection, especially when it comes to studying, can lead to overwork and unnecessary stress and pressure. Set realistic expectations and goals for yourself and celebrate each achievement you accomplish, regardless of perfection.

6. Seeking Help

Recognising when your stress or anxiety levels are overwhelming, and defining this level of stress for yourself, is vital to ensure that you are not negatively affected by stress and anxiety.

Monitor your stress levels and categorise your feelings on a ‘stress thermometer’. Points lower on this thermometer represent lower stress levels. As your stress increases, you can mark off these levels on the thermometer. When you feel you are reaching breaking point, seek help to decrease your stress levels.

This way of recording your stress levels can help you know when your coping strategies are working, and when your stress levels are venturing out of your control.

Help can be found in the form of support from school counsellors, teachers, family and friends, therapists, or even mental health professionals.

These people can help you work through your anxiety, reassure you, and help you regain control over your mental wellbeing.


It’s essential to create a study environment that emphasizes the importance of learning and growth, rather than focusing solely on grades. Knowing your limits is important as well – trying to study under conditions of extreme stress and anxiety will not help you produce better results.

It is important to prioritise your health and mental wellbeing, so make sure you reach out to people when you feel you need help, and try to use the above strategies to balance your study schedules.

By implementing these guidelines you can combat stress and anxiety and approach your study sessions with greater confidence and balance.

If you feel you could benefit from extra guidance regarding your study skills and time management, IIC has got you covered! Check out our Study Skills Course here, and learn how to make your study sessions more enjoyable and as stress free as possible!