Reduce Stress

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by large projects, exams, or other college responsibilities? Has your brain ever frozen in the middle of a test? There are many reasons for feeling stress when facing examinations. Experiencing a small degree of stress and/or anxiety is actually good for our brains in performance situations. However, if you begin to experience stress overload, then you need to learn healthy strategies to reduce your stress.

Common causes of test anxiety

  • previous problems with academic performance
  • poor preparation and cramming for the examination
  • fear of exposure because the information has not been mastered
  • too much focus on the ‘grade’ versus learning the material
  • negative thoughts 

Symptoms of test anxiety

Common symptoms can be physical and mental such as: 

  • upset stomach
  • restlessness
  • sleep problems
  • muscle tension
  • frustration
  • poor judgment
  • irritability
  • memory blocks
  • confusion



Too much information
  • Use the Study Cycle
  • Form a study group
  • Evaluate your time management skills
  • Break up tasks into manageable chunks
Class is not taught using your preferred learning approaches
  • Continually monitor what learning approaches you're using and choose the best learning approach needed for the task at hand and in order to engage with the material in different ways
  • Your peers may have anxiety about the test as well, so do not engage in stressful conversations just before the test. Instead, sit quietly, listen to music, or review your notes alone
  • Practice taking tests
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Practice relaxation exercises (During the exam, take deep breaths!)
  • Make positive life adjustments.


Get Help

If you are experiencing test and/or academic anxiety, please consider meeting with one of our learning strategists for academic coaching.

If you are experiencing general anxiety or need other help, please contact LSU Mental Health Services.