The study, published in 2017 in Anxiety, Stress and Coping showed that people who found that stress had a positive influence on their performance experienced an increase in their cognitive function, even in cases of high stress that should have reduced their performance, while people who found that stress was tiring saw their performance decrease. Using stress to frighten you while you’re learning can help you focus on a wandering mind, and using your response to stress to temporarily increase your alertness can give your brain a temporary boost. Although particularly uncomfortable, stress has an important evolutionary function: it prepares your body for threats, increases your alertness, increases your heart rate and increases your blood sugar level, so that your cells and tissues have quick access to energy. Together, cortisol and vasopressin stimulate the body’s response to stress: they increase blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels and ultimately lead to the escape or fight reaction. Over time, a high level of chronic stress can also affect your ability to create new memories, so a high level of stress during the semester can affect your performance at the final exam later. It is true that extremely high levels of stress, such as severe anxiety caused by the test, can affect your cognition, memory and ability to perform a task. And if the stress of your test really gets out of hand, consider getting help from a psychiatrist. But if you know what happens in your brain and body when you struggle with the stress of the test, it may be easier to overcome your nerves and be good at your tests. Even if we can’t say that the negative effects of stress are all in your head, it can be useful to focus on the positive effects of stress. A recent IPSOS study in Canada found that 40% of students reported experiencing “high stress”, mainly in connection with exams, and 0% reported no stress at all. The HRC sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland that causes the release of cortisol, the body’s most important stress hormone. And while the stress of the test can be overcome, that t won’t affect you, however. While “physiological stress” seems to be negative in terms of cognitive function, the truth is more complicated. In other words, there are many ways to calm down during a test and keep your stress at a manageable level so you can succeed. A little walking or doing yoga for the test also gives your mind a chance to relax, which can help you feel more comfortable.