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Take-Home Exams Advice: Stress Management

Tips and tricks for stress management when taking open-ended, take-home exams

Quick Stress Relief

  • Take a walk outdoors
  • Drink some herbal tea
  • Watch a movie or TV show. 
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Sing a favorite song
  • Read a book
  • Take a shower or a hot bath
  • Dance it out
  • Cook or bake something
  • Play with your dog or cat
  • Recall a happy memory
  • Take a power nap
  • Exercise
  • Listen to calming music


Avoid junk food. Sugar can cause your energy levels to deplete quickly and can impact your ability to focus.

Healthy study snacks

  • Blueberries
  • Frozen grapes
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Dark chocolate
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Granola bars
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • String cheese
  • Trail mix

Breathing Exercises

  • 7:7:7 breathing
    • Breathe in for a count of seven.  Hold your breath for seven seconds. Breathe out for seven seconds.
    • You can use a little mantra if you like:  “As I breathe in I breathe in calm; as I breathe out I breathe out stress”
  • Belly breathing
    • Sit or lie in a comfortable position and place one hand on your belly. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and feel your hand being pushed outwards as the air fills your lungs. Now exhale through your mouth, and feel your hand moving inwards. Repeat 5 to 6 times.
  • Gratitude breath
    • Take one really long deep breath — more than ten seconds — and try to exhale longer than you inhale. Express one thought of gratitude.
  • Meditation for breathing awareness and anchoring
    • A 13 minute video provided by Piedmont Healthcare

Calming Techniques

  • Color a virtual mandala
  • Do aromatherapy
  • Stretch
  • Roll your feet over a tennis or golf ball
  • Write down 3 things you are grateful for
  • Practice yoga
  • Say the ABC's backwards
  • Massage your hands
  • Splash cold water on your face

Virtual Experiences

Create a Calm Environment

Reduce Distractions

Try to find a quiet location
Clear your study space
Switch off your phone
Don't check your email
Avoid social media

Use Your Support Network

Reach out  to a family member or a friend about the pressure you feel. You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.

UGA Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is available for phone consultations (706-542-2273) during normal business hours, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 p.m. CAPS is available for crisis services 24/7 at 706-542-2200.

Positive Affirmations

Repeat out loud to yourself several times a day

  • I’m becoming more focused.
  • I’m continuing to work hard.
  • I’m enjoying the process of learning.
  • I’m going to perform well on this exam.
  • I love the challenge of taking exams.
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