What to Do If You Get Nervous Before Exams


A student studying at his desk while books fall around himIt is completely normal to be nervous before exams. They’re a big deal and are typically weighted very heavily towards your final grade! We’d be lying if we told you there was no pressure because, well… there is. College life is all about how to handle pressure in a healthy manner that is productive and most importantly, effective. So the administration staff at Florida National University (FNU) wants to help you prepare for your exams without feeling nervous or stressed. 

Here are 6 easy tips to take before you take your exams.

  1. Step Away From the Books! 

Yes! We understand that we’re a regionally accredited university that’s trained to give our students the best education possible. Yet, we’re telling you to step away from the academic books before taking exams! This only applies to the students who have spent a considerable amount of time studying. 

There is such a thing as over-studying. Spending too much time studying can exhaust your mind, bringing about fatigue. Fatigue can cause you to become unfocused and that can affect your memory. When your memory is affected, this can bring about some frustration because you’re forgetting things you know you know! At this point, things have become stressful as anxiety has set in and now you might be freaking out thinking you’re going to fail your exam, fail your class, fail college, and then life! All of this can be avoided if you just…step awayyyy from the books for awhile! 

  1. Breathe! 

This step pretty much goes hand in hand with Tip #1. Just breathe deeply. Close your eyes, take at least 10 deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing. Forget about how weird it sounds. If you’re going through the anxiety of Tip #1 fearing that you’re going to fail life, then why NOT try this? By the way, you’re a college student. That alone speaks volumes to what kind of success awaits you! So, be encouraged. 

  1. Exercise 

Sometimes, you might need to breathe a little faster! This is where exercise comes into play. Exercise might be the number one stress reliever. If you take Tip#1 and Tip #2 into play, you’re well on your way to Tip #3: Exercise. 

Exercising helps to relieve any built-up tension and anxiety. Whether you’re letting off steam in the gym or in a sport, you are guaranteed to feel much more relaxed—exhausted albeit, but relaxed. Your mind will feel renewed, your body will too, and you’ll be healthier for it. It’s really a win-win situation. 

  1. Eat 

Now, this tip should not be taken out of context. Do NOT eat every time you feel nervous or anxious about anything. We are simply suggesting that you eat something if you haven’t. Oftentimes, students can get so caught up in studying for exams that they forget to take care of themselves, that includes feeding themselves. Your body needs food to operate. Food is energy for your body and mind. If you deprive yourself of fuel, just like a car, you’re going to run out of gas and stop operating. You’ll be no good to yourself or what you’re trying to accomplish. It is absolutely important that you take care of your body and that means eating a sufficient amount of nutrients. 

  1. Prepare Yourself 

At some point, you’ll have to return to the books and when you do, you’ll need to make sure that you’re organized. Taking all of the lecture notes in the world will not help you take your exams any better. After taking a break, exercising your body and your mind, then refueling yourself with the proper amount of food to fuel your body, you’ll be able to attack your studies from a fresh angle and a new perspective. It is at this point you’ll be able to better organize your course work and notes so that when it’s time to take your exam, they’ll be easier to remember. It is also at this point you should feel more confident about taking your exams, and some, if not all of your anxiety should just melt away! 

  1. Sleep 

Sometimes, you just need to shut it all down and go to sleep. When you have a lot of information flowing around in your head and it’s difficult to make sense of it all, what you might need is a nice little power nap—or perhaps a good 8 hours worth of sleep. Just like your body needs food, your body also needs to recharge. For human beings, that means going to bed. That shouldn’t be so hard to do!

Think of what happens to a computer when it’s getting overloaded with too much information. It freezes. It does absolutely nothing! That is what often happens to us as human beings when we overload ourselves with work and responsibility. We just freeze. Sometimes, the computer spools a bit and then goes on working—like us. But then there are times when it just crashes—like us! When a computer crashes, sometimes all you need to do is just reboot it, turn it off and on again. And just like computers, we need to shut down, turn ourselves off so that when we wake up, we’re working at top speed! 

Break, Breathe, Exercise, Prepare, Sleep and Repeat 

These 6 steps can be applied to more than just taking exams. Anytime you feel nervous or anxious about anything, you can apply any of these 6 tips toward alleviating your nerves, but first, FNU recommends you try them all before taking exams and let us know how it works out for you!

Read FNU’s blog for more helpful advice or contact us today if you’re interested in becoming an FNU Conquistador today!