Navigating Exam Stress: A Student’s Guide to Success

April 2024

By Liz O’Hagan, Pharmacist & Integrative Health Expert – *Sponsored Partnership with Meaghers

Exam season can be a challenging time for students (and for their families!). The pressure to perform well, paired with the fear of failure, can lead to heightened stress levels. However, with the right strategies and support systems in place, students can navigate through this period with confidence and resilience. Together, let’s explore some effective ways to help deal with exam stress.

  1. Encourage Effective Time Management:

One of the key factors leading to exam stress is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material to study. By encouraging students to create a study schedule or timetable at home, it can break down their revision into more manageable chunks. Setting goals for each study session can help them stay focused and avoid that feeling of being “stuck in the mud”. I would highly encourage them to avoid having their phone in the room with them while studying. It will only distract and incite worry and procrastination.

  1. A Healthy Body Contributes to a Healthy Mind:

Promoting healthy habits on a daily basis will have a knock-on effect on a person’s ability to study. Encourage students to partake in regular exercise, make sure they’re getting adequate sleep, and that they eat healthily during exam season. Physical activity can help reduce stress levels, while proper nutrition and sleep will improve concentration and brain function.

  1. Stress Management Techniques:

Teach students simple stress management techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness. These exercises can help calm their minds and bodies, reducing anxiety and allowing them to focus more clearly on the task in hand.

*Box Breath exercise: Inhale slowly through the nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds… repeat (x4).

  1. Provide Emotional Support:

Talk to students about how it is okay and very normal to feel anxious and stressed leading up to exams, reassuring them that you are there to support them. Encourage open communication and active listening, allowing them to express their concerns and fears, without judgement. Try to practice listening to understand, not to reply.

  1. Nurture a Positive Mindset:

Focusing on a student’s strengths and achievements, rather than dwelling on weaknesses, can help cultivate a positive mindset, boosting confidence and self-belief. Encourage them to practice saying affirmations like “I believe in myself”; “I am calm during exams”; “I am capable and intelligent”. Visualisation exercises, like imagining themselves going into the exam hall and sitting down, picturing the desk and stationery around them, can help prepare them for the emotions of the day too.

  1. Encourage Breaks and Relaxation:

Studying for long periods without taking a break can lead to burnout and reduce productivity. Encourage students to take regular breaks during their study sessions to rest and recharge. Engaging in activities they enjoy, like listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, or dancing to “shake it off”, can help them relax and recharge their batteries.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations:

Helping students to set realistic expectations for themselves can help alleviate society’s pressures of perfectionism. Remind them that it is normal to feel some level of stress during exam season. Encourage them to just do their best on the day, rather than aiming for perfection.

Ideally, we would love everyone to get all their essential nutrients from their diet, but this can be easier said than done, especially if you have a fussy eater at home or someone not coping with stress. If you are worried that your students are struggling with energy levels, poor concentration, or feeling run down, here are some supplements they could try:

Supplements for energy and mental performance:

  • Revive Active Teen is a tropical-flavoured super supplement, specially formulated for teenagers, to deliver multiple benefits in one easy sachet. Suitable for ages 13-19- year olds, it supports the immune system, healthy bone development, cognitive function and energy production, as well as supporting a healthy gut with its prebiotic and probiotic fibre. To compliment a nice pre-school morning routine, this sachet is recommended to be given on weekdays, from Monday to Friday in the mornings. (Although it can be used every day too.)

Revive Active Teen Tropical 20 Sachets

  • For older students, Revive Active Zest is suitable for adults over 18 (up to 35). Again, it is a single sachet to be taken in a glass of water and is now available in two delicious flavours: Zesty Orange and the new Berry Burst. Revive Active Zest helps to boost your immune system, improve cognitive function, and increase energy levels and muscle function – all of which can have a positive impact on your studying ability!

Revive Active Zest Active Berry Burst

    • Vitamin D : Many of us, in Ireland, struggle to make enough Vitamin D, due to a lack of sun exposure, and become deficient in it. Vitamin D is essential for many functions, especially for bone health, but studies are now suggesting that it could impact our cognitive health positively too. Pharmanord’s BioActive D-Pearls and the BetterYou Vitamin D sprays are two brilliant vitamin D supplements. The BioActive D-pearls should be taken with food, to help absorption, and the BetterYou spray is absorbed under the tongue or through the inside of the cheek cavity, with or without food. A dose of 800-1000 units per day should be sufficient to cover any baseline deficiencies (unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor).

Pharma Nord BioActive Vitamin D Pearls 75UG


BetterYou D1000 Vitamin D Daily Oral Spray 15ml

    • Fish Oil: Fish oils have many benefits, and can help to improve focus and support brain function during stressful periods like exam time. Eskimo 3,6,9 is a super product that not only contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which support vision, heart health, and brain cognition, but it also contains CoQ10 for energy, and Vitamin D, for bone health and supporting mental performance. Another Omega 3 fish oil product, which is also excellent are the Minami MorEPA fish oils. They come in an easy-to-swallow capsule and should be taken with food, with a cold drink. (Swallowing a capsule with a hot drink can melt the capsule prematurely!)

Minami MorEPA Original Omega-3 Fish Oils 60 Softgels


Eskimo Brain 3.6.9 Omega Fish Oils 120s

    • Revive Active Mastermind is a powerful supplement that contains 11 active ingredients formulated to support brain, cognitive, and psychological function, improving mental performance. It is recommended for people aged 16+ years old. Mastermind comes in an orange-flavoured sachet, to be mixed in a glass of water. It is best taken one hour after food, at any time of the day.

Revive Active Mastermind 30 Sachets

Supplements and products to aid relaxation and ease anxiety:

There are lots of different supplements available to help cope with restless nights and troublesome sleep.


      • Magnesium is a very popular mineral used to help with sleep issues, especially when it comes to anxiety or restlessness at night. Magnesium is essential for so many functions in the body, including energy production, muscle function, and in the production of serotonin and GABA, which are feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that help to reduce anxiety and stress and produce a calming effect. We sometimes forget that our heart is also a muscle, so taking magnesium is great for promoting relaxation of the heart muscle too. Magnesium bisglycinate is the preferred form of magnesium to take as a sleep aid, as it gets transported into the bloodstream to where it is needed, and is very gentle on the stomach.
      • Some of our favourite magnesium bisglycinate supplements for sale in Meaghers Pharmacy, are the Zooki Magnesium bisglycinate, which is a high-strength liquid sachet for adults. PrizMag is another super magnesium bisglycinate option that comes in capsule form. You can take this both during the day for anxiety and stress management, and/or at night as a sleep aid. Again, this form of magnesium bisglycinate is so gentle on the stomach and brilliant for muscle relaxation and repair overnight. Mag365 is a powder that you make into a hot or cold drink and is brilliant for diffusing stress, for muscle recovery, and contributes to a restful sleep.
      • For students under 18, Mag365 powder is available for kids from 4+ years which not only contributes to sleep, but it can also help with anxiety. Plus, it even has added vitamins and minerals of Calcium, Zinc, and Vitamin’s C & D, which all help with teeth and bone health, as well as boosting the immune system. It is available is a tasty passionfruit flavour.

PrizMAG Magnesium Bisglycinate 90 Capsules


MAG365 Magnesium For Kids Passionfruit 150g


Zooki Magnesium Pineapple Guava

    • Magnesium flakes used in the bath are great to alleviate restlessness in the muscles and the act of a soaking in a hot bath is relaxing in itself and a great way to unwind if feeling stressed

BetterYou Pure Magnesium Bath Flakes

    • Ashwaganda is a medicinal herb that has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is known for its adaptogenic properties, which helps the body to manage stress. It has been used by many for improvements in sleep, memory, attention span, and other brain functions, and in the reduction of stress hormones. Zooki Liposomal Ashwaganda is available in sachet form and in capsule form too.

Zooki Liposomal Ashwagandha 30 sachets

    • Spacemasks Self-Heating Eye Masks contain 5 air-activated, self-heating eye masks to help ease tired eyes and tension, promote relaxation and to give a helpful hand getting to sleep. Drift off to another relaxing dimension with these jasmine infused eye masks.

Spacemasks Self Heating Eye Masks 5 Pack

I hope some of these strategies help to provide support to students during exam time. Keep reminding them that it is normal to feel stressed, anxious, and sometimes scared! But use these tools, especially the deep breathing exercises, to help manage these feelings.

Remember there are many avenues towards different careers. As important as exams are, they are not the be-all and end-all. All we can ever try to do is our best.

Good luck!


Oonagh O’Hagan

Meaghers Pharmacy Paid Partnership with Meaghers. 


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Navigating Exam Stress: A Student’s Guide to Success

by 2cubed time to read: 30 min