How to deal with exam anxiety?

Author: Dan Keating/05 April 2018/Categories: GCSE, A - Level, Examination Advice

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Dealing with Exam Anxiety

How to manage exam anxiety?

Exam anxiety is so common for a lot of students who are getting ready to sit their exams. It is caused by various reasons and is felt at different levels. What is exam anxiety? Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in exam situations. Most people feel some amount of stress and anxiety before and during exams, test anxiety can affect some students to the extent it damages their exam performance.


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 Nervousness is good

A little amount of nervousness is good and can be helpful to keep you mentally alert and motivated to tackle the exams. Naturally enough the opposite can have a negative effect on your performance. It could make it hard for you to concentrate or worse have a “brain freeze”. This feeling is not pleasant as you enter a panic stage of trying to remember the information you studied for the exam. In turn, this adds to your anxiety and makes it a lot tougher for you to focus on the exam in hand.

 

So what is the principle causes for exam stress? Many reasons could be attached to exam anxiety but I will just concentrate on the most common causes.

 

1.    The need to achieve a high score to gain entry into the college of your choice to study the course you want in order to pursue your dream career.

 

2.    The fear of being judged on the grades achieved. This may be caused by parents, siblings, friends etc.

 

3.    Some teachers communicate in class the importance of exams and how they shape your life. This is not to cause anxiety but with some pupils, it has that effect. In most cases, the teachers are trying to motivate their students and in some instances, they are concerned about being graded on their own performance or even the ranking of their school.

 

4.    Poor time management, some students have just not organised themselves as efficiently and effectively as they could have done. Anxiety is a normal reaction if you are ill prepared or not in control of the situation.

Avoid or cope with exam anxiety

What can I do to avoid and or cope with exam anxiety? Prepare ahead of time by working on sections of the course curriculum each day. Review past exam papers and simulate exam conditions by working through a practice test, following the same time constraints.

 

Try to identify your exam anxiety earlier by noticing your physical responses. Preventative measures are always the best course of action. If necessary visit your doctor and remember you are not alone. Concentrate on the task at hand, give yourself clear goals and follow them. It is very easy to let our minds get carried away with awful scenarios of doom and gloom. It is so important to stay positive so replace them with positive thoughts.

 

Develop good test-taking skills. Read the directions carefully, answer questions you know first and then return to the more difficult ones. Outline your essays before you begin to write. Stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat healthfully, exercise and allow for personal time. If you are exhausted, physically or emotionally it will be more difficult for you to deal with and manage anxiety.

 

Concentrate on the test, not other students during your tests. Try not to talk to other students about the subject material before or after taking an exam. Maintain a positive attitude. Remember that your self-esteem should not be dependent on or defined by exams. Practice relaxation techniques. If you feel anxious during the exam, stop for a minute, take deep, slow breaths and consciously relax your muscles, one at a time. This can revitalise your body and will allow you to better focus on the exam.


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