It doesn't matter if you are doing your first degree, in high-school or even if you are doing your Ph.D. already, exam time can be rough on the nerves for people of all ages. Why do we get nervous when we have to take an exam? Even people that study and feel completely prepared can experience anxiety and stress when they need to take an exam.
Your test and exam anxiety could come from a fear of failure. It could come from the fact that you didn't take enough time to prepare for the test. Or, it could be that you've failed previous tests and that mindset leaves you thinking you're going to fail them all.
These fears can play games with your mind, and there are symptoms that you'll experience that are signs you're anxious about the tests. Symptoms can happen before you even take the test (just thinking about it), they can happen during the test, and they can even happen after the test (when you're worried about the results).
If you're anxious about an exam, you may have some (or all) of the following symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trouble focusing
- Stomach discomfort
- Excessive perspiration
- Panic attacks
- Trouble breathing
- Other body pains (including headaches)
These are not the only symptoms, but they give you an idea of what to expect. Knowing these symptoms is one of the first steps to helping you curb that anxiety. Then you can implement these 5 techniques to work toward a more comfortable and confident exam time.
1. Stay Healthy
When you're busy cramming for exams, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Self-care is so important, and it's especially crucial in times of stress and anxiety.
Make sure you take a study break from time to time. Use this break time to go for a walk, do some art, or spend some time with your loved ones. Get enough sleep – lacking sleep can add to your stress and anxiety.
Take some time to work out and eat healthily. Physical fitness and a healthy diet will ensure you have the energy to study, and a healthy brain so you can stay focused.
2. Focus on Yourself
If you look inwardly, you'll better be able to deal with those outward anxieties. Instead of worrying about the poor grade you might get, think of the overall importance of this course, this life lesson, and your own well-being. You are more important than the stress of any exam.
Once you are focused toward the inside and at the present moment, you will be focused on things that are under your control, and you will find out that your stress is decreased. You have to take your exams, but those exams are just a small part of your achievements.
3. Celebrate Your Achievements and Success
Focusing on negative things is counterproductive. Instead of dwelling on feelings of negativity, celebrate the times you've been successful. Celebrate your achievements in any way that motivates you – whether that means buying yourself something, going out for a drink, or just patting yourself on the shoulder.
4. Use Relaxation Techniques
Many different relaxation techniques can help ease the stress and anxiety you feel during exam time. Breathing techniques, aromatherapy, visualization, and meditation are all things that can help.
Meditation and visualization can both help out in a pinch, as long as you have a little quiet time (for visualization, picture yourself acing the test easily). Yoga is also an amazing tool that brings health and calm to your mind and body.
Although relaxation techniques can be very effective in reducing stress and anxiety, many people find them very hard to integrate into their daily routine. In addition, some of them require your cognitive ability which might be anyway over-occupied during these exams period. To lighten the load, try CalmiGo, an electronic device that combines breathing regulation with multi-sensory stimulation to help you achieve calm quickly and effortlessly in any stressful situation.
5. Visit the Counseling Center
Whether in high school or college, there is a school counselor that is there for you in times like these. These people are trained to know the stress that you are under, and they want to help.
Counselors can offer you some tips outside of the ones in this article. Depending on your issues, they might be able to work some things out if you have issues with times tests or oral tests.