Exam Stress Bearing You Down? Here's How You Can Kill it!
| Jan 16th, 2018 |
The tremor surges through your hand whilst you grip the pen. You strive to remember the obscure facts that you had learnt a few days ago, yet all efforts tantamount to zilch. You curse your dreaded memory for forgetting such a crucial piece of information, yet you happen to remember some twisted verse or an estranged equation that was contained in that memory. You fabricate your own tale concocted from this partial information. You heave a sigh of relief and press forward, with greater tenacity, only to end up facing a similar situation yet again, this time with more pangs surging through your head.
We all have at some point of our lives encountered exam fear and exam stress. This suppression of exam stress usually ends up with the student either feeling vacant, or with the student fidgeting continuously. Let us try to understand what exam stress really is, and how it can be prevented and in certain cases even curbed.
In terms of classifications, exam stress is no more than a manifestation of anticipatory anxiety or evaluation anxiety. It's not the test itself that causes us to stress out, but the possibility of unfavorable results that makes us swoon each time we think about attempting a test.
A certain amount of stress is crucial in order to regulate a state of mental and physical and metaphysical awareness. However, extreme amounts of anxiety can be hazardous, and may result in physical distress or mental panic. Inferior performance may arise not due to an intellectual hindrance or lack of proper preparation, but from the over anticipation of failure which incurs stress to the thinker.
Anxiety that is created due to the sense of threat causes lowered attention span and may incur memory functioning disruptions. Research shows that about 25 to 40 percent of the students experience anxiety when asked to write a test.
Test anxiety should not be confused with generalized anxiety disorders. In terms of functioning, they are vastly different. Generalized Anxiety Disorders possess the characteristics of “trait anxiety” which causes a person to sense high levels of stress when assessed over a diverse variety of situations and events.
Opposing this, people with exam stress possess a “state anxiety” which causes high levels of nervousness in the individual when restricted to the situation of delivering tests.
Aside from making it troublesome to study properly due to lack of attention span, it also affects well prepared students, making it difficult for them to revise their course syllabus. Even a minor occurrence of exam can take a serious toll on the student. Not so surprisingly, it has been noted that students who are more anxious than their low anxiety peers tend to score about 12 percentile points below them.
Exam stress can start affecting the student physically as well, and may cause minor health problems like sleep disturbances, headaches, fever, muscle tension and in extreme situations, even panic attacks.
There are certain steps that should be utilized effectively in order to ensure than instead of inducing stress, you are able to gain relief from it. These steps include:
Proper preparation with methodic planning and ample time
One of the reasons of exam stress is due to an erratic study pattern and forcing yourself to cram the syllabus in one day. A methodic approach to studies usually yields more favorable results.
Stay confident regarding your success
Overthinking about failure can lead to a pessimistic feedback loop, and hence crumble the confidence of anyone. Hence, it is important to stay focused on your goal and not pay much heed to your negative thoughts
Thinking of the past
During exam times, its advisory to not spend time thinking of all the time you wasted in frivolous activities. This will only result in an increase of stress while giving the exam. Instead, try to recall all the material that you read, all the lectures that you attended and all the problems that you solved. This will help in inspiring more confidence in you, and will make you realize the extent of your preparation.
Review your content properly
If there are certain topics in which you are having persistent difficulty, it would be advisable to contact your teacher or mentor to seek guidance. Utilize the proper notes, stick to the syllabus and avoid last minute learning.
Relax yourself if you are unable to start your studies
Many times due to the tension that arises during the preparation of an examination, most people tend to freeze up resulting in them being unable to commence preparations for their exams. In such a situation, it is best to stay tactful. You must come to terms with the fact that without starting, there is no way that you can achieve anything. A start is inevitable if you wish to succeed. Better yet, take a small refreshing break when you feel stressed out, and restart your studies.
Ultimately, if you ensure a proper routine with well-appointed time for all the scheduled activities, you’ll find out that exam stress will no longer be an issue for you anymore. You must realize that exam stress will occur, even in some minute amount, and hence one should strive to give their exam as perfectly as possible in order to ensure good results. This will help in building your confidence over time, and you’ll finally be able to let go of your exam stress, and embrace the exam study routine to ensure optimal results.