How to Overcome Exam Anxiety

Overcome Exam Anxiety

They say “it is the most wonderful time of the year”, but all the students know what it means – finals are around the corner! It also means long nights of studying, stress, and probably some nightmares. How to avoid all of that? Be prepared and enter the exam room like a King or Queen.

Finals are all about getting the best grade possible. The experts of cheap essay writing have already gone through this. We hope that this article will give you tips on how to cope with your test anxiety so you will feel more confident on your path to success.

What Does It Mean?

To begin with, let’s find out what exam anxiety really is. Test anxiety is the anxiousness you feel before a test that can prompt both physical and psychological stress to you.

There are a variety of symptoms related to test anxiety. They may be:

  • Physical – headaches, nausea, excessive sweating, extreme body temperature changes, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath.
  • Emotional – excessive feelings of fear, anger, disappointment, depression, uncontrollable crying or laughing, feelings of helplessness.
  • cognitive – “going blank”, racing thoughts, having difficulty concentrating and organizing your thoughts, engaging in negative self-talk, comparing yourself to others.

Have you ever experienced any of these symptoms when you take tests? Before you stress out about all anxious feelings, let us discuss the fact that not all anxiousness before a test is bad. There is a difference between test anxiety and stress. Some stress, they say, may help with alertness, concentration, and memory. However, when we are unable to control the stress, we may begin to experience symptoms of test anxiety.

It is important to know that a little bit of fear can be a good thing. Stress heightens our senses and brings out our best. Without any stress at all, we would be apathetic. Stress means you care. Too much, though, and your health, as well as your performance, start to suffer. Let us do our best to destroy it.

How to Fight Test Anxiety?

The time leading up to a test is so loaded with stress and anxiety just because exams are high-pressure situations that can deplete your working memory and reduce your performance.

Let’s focus on three main fears that all students have when exams are around the corner: the fear of the unknown, the fear of inadequacy (the feeling that you are unprepared and not ready for the challenge ahead), and the fear of the stakes (the feeling that everything is riding on this test and your life will be over if you fail.)

Conquer the Fear of the Unknown

To tell the truth, the most efficient way to conquer that fear is to make the test as much of a known quantity as possible. Do your best to make that test feel like a familiar old friend when you walk into the class and face it down on exam day.

Recreate the test conditions when you are studying. It means actually going to the location in which you will be tested. If it is your classroom, we do not think that sitting there every day really counts, because it does not recreate the high-pressure situation of the exam. So, go there during the off-hours. Even if the room is empty, take a desk, sit down, and try to do some active studying, while you are in the room you will be tested in. Do not stop at the location either.

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Try to recreate the time constrains, and maybe even the type of questions you will be quizzed over. Basically, make it a dry run that does not have the high stakes of the actual test. So, when you are on the exam, it is as if you have already done it.

You might be asking, “How do I actually recreate test conditions if I do not know what is going to be on the exam?” Well, that leads into our second tip – ask the professor.

A lot of students make the mistake of assuming if a professor did not readily give out information in class about the test, they are unwilling to give it out if asked. Actually, if there are aspects of your exam that you are unclear on, ask your professor. You can ask them about the format, types of questions (true or false, multiple choice), essay style, etc. Try to find old tests and practice with them.

A lot of fraternities, sororities, and other student organizations maintain test banks that you might be able to look through. In case you do not have access to anything like that, there are sites like koofers.com, which maintain their own databases.

Conquer Fear of Inadequacy

Fight the Fear of Inadequacy

Our second big fear to conquer is the feeling of inadequacy (the feeling that you are unprepared for the challenges that the test presents), and, honestly, the best thing you can do here is simply to prepare.

Like the famous marathoner once said: “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare”. So, use the other tactics in your arsenal, the discipline hacks, the planning techniques, and make sure that throughout the semester you are working diligently. That way, when you get to the weeks leading up to the test, you do not have a whole lot of catching up to do.

Like in the Rocky movie, our favorite part of the film is the training montage because that is something he has to do in order to win the fight. So, your entire semester is your training montage.

Know your gaps. That will allow you to focus most efficiently on the facts and concepts you really need to solidify in your mind. Also, when you are revising for tests, it is doubly important that you study actively. If you are passively going through the notes and textbooks, you will be wasting a lot of precious time. So, make quizzes for yourself, make sure you are able to actively recall information and pull it out of your brain.

One more thing to do is to ease your worries before the test. That is backed up by science.

A study done by the University of Chicago showed that students with test anxiety were able to raise their grades by simply taking 10 minutes before the exam to write out their worries, to air them out. So, show up a little bit early for the test, pull out a piece of scrap paper, and write out why exactly you are worried. This pulls it out of your brain, puts it on paper, puts it aside, and lets you focus on the actual test. Science.

Overcome the Fear of Stake

We are talking about the fear that this test is the be-all, end-all, the determining factor in who you are going to be, and where you are going to get in life. And we want to tell you one thing – it is not.

One test does not define you, and in fact, your grades do not define you. Academic performance is just one point of the triangle. The other ones are value creation and relationship building. If you are putting in effort in these areas as well as your academic performance, one test is not going to ruin your life.

You can think of your test in the same way that everyone thinks of job interviews. It is not an audience with an all-powerful arbiter who decides whether or not you get to stay in mom’s basement for the rest of your life. It is just a conversation between two people who want to figure out if they can provide value for each other.

Think of your test the same way. It is just one examination of a small body of knowledge you have learned over a set period. That’s it, but, also, feed off of some of that pressure. Find your center, generate some confidence, and let that pressure hone your senses. Let it make you stronger. In adversity, remember to keep an even mind.

About the Author
Amy Rehan is a guest post manager at Globex Outreach. Her job is to ensure all guest post projects are completed on time and according to client’s requirements.