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7 ways to handle exam uncertainty, stress, and anxiety during the COVID-19

COVID-19 has effected the lives of everyone especially students. Thousands of students who registered for SAT, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, and other professional exams, are stressed out because their exams have been postponed. Although these closures are for their good, students feel mentally drained and have only one question in mind; Now what?

Preparing for an exam is a tough task to do during COVID-19. Most people have burnt the midnight oil and have made lots of sacrifices to pursue their dreams. Therefore, not being able to perform after all the hard work is quite frustrating. However, it is extremely essential to handle this stress in times of pandemic. Let’s find out how!

  1. Understand That Anxiety Is Natural

It is very important to understand that it is completely natural to feel stressed and anxious during unfavorable times. One should never look down upon oneself for feeling low. Feeling stressed is our body’s natural reaction for survival in unfavorable conditions.

  1. Stay Optimistic and Love Yourself

To survive happily in this world, it is crucial to develop positive self-concept. Even if you are not able to achieve your target because of the lockdown, believe that good days are yet to come. During this time, don’t forget to take care of your mental health. Don’t forget that you are worthy of love and care! You will obtain your goal of passing your exam and getting a good score. This will give you more time to prepare, enhance your strengths, and improve your weaknesses.

  1. Distract Yourself

If you feel that your brain is on overdrive, the best way is to distract it. There are a lot of indoor activities to choose from! During your study breaks, you can watch movies and TV series you’ve put on hold or listen to some of your favorite music albums. Stay productive!

  1. Exercise and Yoga

Exercise and yoga stimulate your brain to release endorphins, hormones that help relieve stress and produce a feeling of well-being. Regular exercise is extremely essential for a healthy body and mind. It also helps reduce cortisol, the main stress hormone, and lets us sleep well. Sleep away all the anxiety!

  1. Spend time with your support system

During the uncertainty of when your exams will be scheduled, spending time with people who support you has positive effects. You can vent to them or ask for advice how they would handle certain situations. If you want to get your mind off things, enjoying their company via video chat or whatever is comfortable and safe for everyone during the social distancing time period.

  1. Calm yourself with music

Surprisingly, listening to specific genres in music can help us relax and feel stress-free. When we listen to soft and instrumental music, our muscles and mind relax, heart rate and blood pressure decrease and stress hormones reduce. As a result, we feel calm!

  1. Preparation is key

If you are stressing about not feeling prepared for the exam, its always good to evaluate where you are in your preparation. If you need to supplement your studying, you can always seek the help of a tutor, sign up for a prep course, take more practice tests, or find a study partner.

Try these simple yet effective strategies to cope with your exam uncertainty during this COVID-19 pandemic.








Dr. Ifeanyi Olele Ifeanyi Olele, DO, MBA, MS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who sees adolescent and adult patients in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions. Dr. Olele is a dedicated psychiatrist in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Dr. Ifeanyi Olele is one of the few psychiatrists who utilizes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as part of his treatment plan.

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