As discussed in Paul Nolting’s presentation, which we featured yesterday, test anxiety can keep students from performing to the best of their abilities. Examination time can also prove challenging for those students who must balance multiple commitments, deadlines, and responsibilities. Thus, stress management and time management techniques are valuable tools in a student’s academic toolkit.

If you’d like to help students discover how to better manage their stress during test-taking time, try this “stress level check” from the Instructor’s Resource Manual that accompanies Christine Harrington, Ph.D.’s Student Success in College: Doing What Works!. Through this activity, Harrington encourages students to review their current stress-management strategies, evaluate which ones work and which don’t, and then learn some new techniques that could relax their minds, hone their skills, and ultimately leave them better prepared for their examinations.


Check in with your students on their current stress level and whether or not their stress management techniques are working. … Have students work in small groups and discuss how school is going, their expectations, performance, concerns, worries and surprises. This is also a good time to invite guest speakers from the college’s counseling center, academic support centers, tutorial centers or any college resource your campus has that students may benefit from learning about. Validate their experiences, sharing that it is normal for stress levels to increase toward the end of the semester. Discuss effective stress management techniques. (54)


Reference: Harrington, Christine. 2013. Instructor’s Resource Manual for Student Success in College: Doing What Works! A Research-Focused Approach. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


Do you have any stress-management tips you share with students? What are some of the tips they’ve shared with you? Write them in our Comments section.

Looking for additional ideas or strategies to discuss? Review some of the stress-management and time-management techniques we’ve covered in earlier posts at the Cengage Learning Blog.