Student Poll Results: How Do You Manage Exam Stress?

Recently, we asked you to share your go-to strategies for managing stress in our blog poll—and share you did! From yogi-esque self-care methods and chocoholic indulgences, to exercise and straight-up panic, we’ve learned that students use a variety of different tactics to calm their nerves during test time. Some healthy, some not-so-healthy.

As we head into to finals season, you might find some of these tips handy. We started with the most popular answer—and it might just shock you!


A clear winner at 29.7%, “panic” was the number one coping mechanism for survey takers. Research shows that anxiety in small doses can help make people more productive, but it requires a little reframing, and there’s a thin line between help and hinder. This Fast Company article has some great tips for using anxiety to your advantage to help you achieve more!

Deep Breathing

A little inhaling and exhaling can do wonders for your state of mind. In fact, 25.7% of our poll participants turn to it when they’re feeling apprehensive. As Dr. Emma Seppala points out, a deep breathing regimen doesn’t only alleviate stress, it can also boost your body’s immunity and minimize pain. According to Seppala, “One study showed that different emotions are linked to different patterns of breath and that, conversely, changing the breath can change our emotions. In other words: we can change how we feel, using our breath.” Imagine showing up to test day excited!


Sometimes the best way to stop the sweat is to break a sweat—and there’s no better way than with exercise! Hitting the track or dropping in for a spin class can help take the focus off your freak out. 22.8% of you agree, and use an active lifestyle to keep your stress at bay. Not a bad strategy, really. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America outlines the science behind why exercise offers a boost to body and mind.

Devour Chocolate

Stress eating. Everyone does it sometimes, right? And when it’s chocolate, how can we resist? Our poll showed 21.8% of people eat chocolate as a way to cope with stress. While too much chocolate can pack on pounds and lead to other potential health problems, nibbling in moderation might actually have several benefits on your overall health—both mental and physical! There’s still more research to be done, but this Medical News Today article sums up both sides pretty nicely.

No matter what method you turn to, the best way to manage stress at test time is to prevent it from the start, by adequately preparing. Penciling in study time every day for several weeks leading up to an exam will build your confidence in the material—and your grasp on it.

What method(s) do you use to relieve your college stress? Share them with us in the comments!

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