Abstract: the analysis of scientific publications devoted to the study of exam stress, the role of emotional response and cognitive function against the background of the influence of psychological stressors during the preparation and passing of exams is carried out. As criteria for the analysis, the principle of A.A. Ukhtomsky’s dominant and A. Maslow’s pyramid of needs for interpreting the distribution of emotional stress and cognitive function under conditions of exam stress at the steps corresponding to primary and secondary needs. It is established that in accordance with the principle of A.A. Ukhtomsky’s dominant bright emotional reaction in the limbic system occurs earlier than the formation of a cognitive response. That is, the emotional dominant focus of excitement will be provided by resources in the first place, and cognitive function by the residual principle. Moreover, the emotional factor is distributed at the 1st and 2nd steps of the A. Maslow pyramid, which corresponds to primary needs. In contrast, cognitive function under conditions of exam stress corresponds to 4 levels, which corresponds to the satisfaction of secondary social needs. Thus, during examination stress, first of all, there will be satisfaction of primary needs corresponding to the 1st and 2nd stages, and then secondary ones, which are provided by cognitive function and corresponding to the 4th level. That is why, it is advisable to approach the development of measures aimed at correcting the perception of exam stress and reducing the intensity of emotional stress during pre-examination preparation and, directly, during the exam, taking into account the hierarchy of different stressors in the structure of a specific stress situation, their influence on the psychological and physiological state of the body generally.

Keywords: examination stress, A.A. Ukhtomsky dominant, the pyramid of A. Maslow, emotions, cognitive function