How to reboot your brain after a stressful exam

Going through exams can be a tiring and stressful experience, no matter how good you are at your courses. The amount of time you spend preparing for the exam boils down to an hour or two in the classroom before the professor calls it a day.

While you may be shell-shocked from the stress and anxiety that came with the exam, you should be happy that it finally passed. The next logical step for anyone would be to reboot as fast as possible and continue with your routine, college, going home, or whatever it may be.

Talking to someone close

What works for most college students is calling someone close as soon as they leave the classroom. Calling your parents, best friend or significant other can immediately help you clear your mind when the exam is over. Your brain will need some time to “reboot”, so to speak, after the last couple of days you’ve spent going through notes and books related to the subject.

Don’t think about the results or anything exam-related; ask them how they are and maybe even if they want to meet up later to just talk about anything other than college. This can help you a huge deal because if you don’t talk to someone familiar, your brain will get tired very quickly and you’ll be unable to study for the rest of your exams.

Rewarding yourself

The best way to let your brain readjust and realize that the exam is over is by rewarding yourself. This can be anything from a symbolic ice-cream cone to sleeping through the rest of the day. Do anything that makes you relaxed and content that the exam is done with. Make sure that you prepare your reward beforehand if possible – knowing what’s waiting for you when you come out of the exam room will give you an extra incentive to do well.

Taking some time off

Depending on the current status of your semester, you should consider taking a day or two off. Working on nothing at all will help your brain recharge and prepare for more work down the line. You can do something relaxing like jogging, biking or just walking around the campus and resting in a park.

Taking regular breaks is just as important as working hard. If you neglect the rest your brain needs, you risk becoming a workaholic or even worse – a burnout. Getting some help with your ongoing projects might not be a bad idea at this point – pay someone to write my paper for me in order to get an idea of how an expert can help you write or edit your papers. No one wants to lose all of their energy in the middle of the exam period, so make sure that you take it seriously.

Watching a movie

Lying in bed and watching a simple cheesy movie can help you unwind and recharge. This works because movies, like books or games, take us to a different world with a different set of rules. By transporting yourself to the world inside your TV screen, you can let your subconscious relax and prepare for the next day. Any movie that falls into your favorite genre can work. As long as you are enjoying yourself, the choice doesn’t really matter, because your brain will do most of its recharging during those two hours.

Going out with friends

Sometimes all we need is some socializing to get over an especially difficult exam. Call your friends from campus and see if they want to take a break and go out for drinks. This doesn’t mean that you should consume large quantities of alcohol however since it will numb you and make the next day terrible for you.

Try giving yourself some time off with friends and colleagues and talk about your shared campus experiences and what you will do once the exams are done. Having some laughs and sharing some stories will keep your brain preoccupied long enough to forget about exams for a couple of hours at least, making sure it reboots.

Thinking about it objectively                                           

When you put everything on paper, the exam that just passed has brought you one step closer to your college degree. You have been struggling for months and years and even though it seems like nothing is happening, the exams are your indicator that something actually is. Think about your exam in a more objective way rather than brooding over the results and stressing over whether or not you did well.

Whatever you did, you did – and it was the best you could have done with the amount of time you’ve spent preparing for it. Give your brain some time to readjust after the exam and wait for the results to arrive before calling it a failure. If it indeed turns out to be so, you will redo it and raise the grade, making all the stress meaningless in the long run. Don’t let one exam bring you down – you have your whole life ahead of you and college exams are only a small part of it.


Stressing over exams is completely normal if “normal” involves panicking over your future due to a single exam. Every college student is guilty of exam anxiety and everyone copes with it in their own way. There is no universal formula that can bring you out of college stress because that’s the part of what makes college so important.

If anyone could graduate college then you would see a lot more of your high school friends in universities. Unfortunately, not everyone is built for studying so much, so you should feel privileged and positive about the fact that you are preparing for your future in the best possible way, regardless of what one exam might make you feel like right now.