Bubble test answer sheet with sharpened standard No. 2 pencil on top

Top 3 Smart Tips for Stress-Free Test Prep

Stressed about your tests? That's normal for everyone. Here are three key tips you should be following while preparing for your upcoming exam.

The most stressful part of any student’s life is the ever-impending exams sporadically scheduled throughout the year. Whether it’s a short in-class quiz or a state standardized test, no student enjoys the multiple-choice mayhem. The anticipation, though, is considerably the worst part. I often find myself lost on where to begin in test prepping. For those of you who share the same troubles, I have compiled a list of steps that are guaranteed to take the anxious edge off a test day.

1. Create a schedule and stick to it

The most difficult part of test prepping is finding time to study. As a theatre major, I rarely have down time that I haven’t dedicated to a performance or a show. This is where creating a schedule comes in handy. Take the time to write out all your commitments in the two weeks leading up to a test. Find gaps of free time and designate that as your study time.

By no means should you read a whole textbook in one study session. Use your schedule and plan what parts to study. Along with this, you should focus on your trouble areas. Maybe you know arc length of a circle like the back of your hand, but angle of elevation is a foreign language to you. That’s fine! Just dedicate more of your time to reading over the necessary chapters. Nothing should be put before your education. We’ve all been there: we know we have something to get done, but there are a million other things we’d rather be doing. When it comes to studying, you can’t put it off! Set your mind to it, and it will get done.

Related: Make the Most of Your Time With a Great Study Routine

2. Avoid stress the night before the test

The worst thing you can do the night before your big test is stress. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can create multiple problems for an individual. When your brain detects stress, it assumes you are in danger, therefore releasing hormones that increase your heart rate. This will keep you up far longer than necessary, ruining your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Stress can also lead to physical illness, such as stomach cramps and nausea, which is not fun on test day! Instead of stressing, take some time to relax and do something you enjoy that doesn’t require much physical movement. Lie down and play some music, read a book, watch a movie, meditate—anything to keep your mind at ease.

3. Simplify your morning the day of the test

On the morning of a test, it is natural to want to do some last-minute cramming. This is a huge no-no! Studying on the morning of a test will only further stress you out. Instead, wake up at a reasonable time, take a nice shower, and have a good breakfast. I always prefer to wear something comfortable to get me in an eased mindset. Test days are no time to stress. This morning should be all about your relaxation. Go about your morning routine normally. Condense it even: no makeup, no perfume or cologne, no long outfit-picking sessions. This is a sure way to reduce stress and ready you mentally for the test.

Related: 8 Tips for Starting the New Year With a Positive Mindset

No one likes exams, but with a little bit of effort, you can reduce the pain of them. Simply following these steps can make a world of difference for your next testing experience!

Need a good study break? Check out some of the fun videos from students just like you on our YouTube channel

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

exams final exams stress stress management study tips test prep

About DebiAnn Daniel

DebiAnn Daniel

DebiAnn Daniel is the ultimate definition of a dork who loves to write. She is 15 years old and currently attends an arts school as a theatre major.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Emilie Delgado

Emilie Delgado

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2013

CollegeXpress has tremendously helped me in my search for financial aid opportunities as I enter my college career. It is easy to navigate and quickly narrowed down scholarships that I could apply for. Being awarded the scholarship will greatly help me in my finances regarding books and tuition. Thank you for this opportunity. Without CollegeXpress, it would have been more difficult to apply. I would recommend this site to everyone!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find Allegheny College with the super-user-friendly search tool for both schools and scholarships. Using CollegeXpress, I was able to search for programs I was interested in studying and find colleges that offered those programs. Also, once you search for the college, CollegeXpress can get you connected!

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

College Matches