Many students can agree that some of the most stressful moments they experience in and outside of the classroom occur right before an exam. Cramming has become a common means for learning a lot of study material during a short amount of time. Regardless of study habits, even high achieving students face a lot of stress. Students pressure to outperform their peers can sometimes be overwhelming, which can worsen an already stressful situation. Although feelings of stress can be common, it can have negative impacts on cognitive functioning when prolonged. High levels of stress can affect cognitive performance by impairing memory recall and retention of learned material if left unresolved[1]. Researches attribute this to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, present in the areas of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory processes.
Therefore, it is recommended that students opt to engage in meditation practices prior to studying and taking an exam. It has been shown that meditation can lower the level of stress experienced while doing these activities and can ultimately improve academic performance[2]. Studies have even shown that students who engage in meditation practices have really enjoyed it! Students have even reported that meditation has helped them retain more course material and focus better during exams[3]. Meditation has also been a successful tool in the reduction of academic related anxiety, stress, and performance overall.
Students improvement of their mental health can lead to an environment that is conducive to learning and recalling learned material when it’s time to test! Therefore, it is important for students to find time to engage in self-care or a meditative practice, as this will boost their chances at having a more successful academic year.


[1] Roozendaal, B. (2002). Stress and memory: opposing effects of glucocorticoids on memory consolidation and memory retrieval. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 78(3), 578-595.
[2] Fiebert, M. S., & Mead, T. M. (1981). Meditation and academic performance. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 53(2), 447-450.
[3] Beauchemin, J., Hutchins, T. L., & Patterson, F. (2008). Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities. Complementary Health Practice Review, 13(1), 34-45.