7 Powerful Ways to Reduce Exam Anxiety

February 18, 2019 7:52 am Published by 1 Comment

‘’Even though I knew the answers but couldn’t write anything due to numbness’’.

‘’I knew the answer but got confused and end up writing the wrong answers’’

Exams season comes every year around March/April and May in Pakistan. During this period we get to hear these statements from the students in response to how they did in their papers.

Due to the high pressure or the fear of being tested/evaluated students fail to perform as they anticipated. Sometimes their previous exam’s ghost haunts and lowers down the confidence and self-esteem of the student.

Exam anxiety is legit as it is the fear of taking the test or the exam. There are multiple reasons for exam stress. One of which, and the most common is the fear of Unknown.

It is in the human nature that he fears each and everything he doesn’t know or yet haven’t experienced.

In this blog post, I am going to talk about the Exam Stress in general and how to cope up with it so that you can perform best in your exams.

I know, most of you are preparing for the Board Exams as the exams are approaching-whether you are an Intermediate student or giving your O/A-level exams- stress is creeping in.

If you haven’t prepared yourself for this great battle then this is exactly the right time to start studying so that you can perform better in your exams.

First of all, let’s talk about

‘’My mind went blank. I felt like I never studied for the exams’’.

Who undergoes Exam Stress?

There is a common misconception that the students who do not study suffer from Exam anxiety but to tell you the truth this is not the case. Students who are very determined and are high marks achievers. There is no age limits to it nor does the intelligence has anything to do with it. Anyone who is ambitious and concerned about their marks suffers from this Exam Fever.

It can affect anyone whether it is a kindergarten student or an experienced learner.

It’s something that is both nothing and extreme if not dealt on time

Is Exam Stress a Normal thing?

Dear students, I want you all to know that stress and anxiety are healthy and necessary for the survival as well as it has been a part of human nature which has saved man for thousands of centuries.

So it is okay to feel a little scared and anxious. But when it starts to interfere with your academic life then you have to take a step, beat it and break it down.

How?

Just keep the following points in mind when preparing for your exam as well as when you have the above mentioned ‘’Exam Fever’’. but before talking about the techniques to reduce exam stress let’s talk about the when it’s not normal and steps should be taken to reduce it.

 

When to seek help?

The symptoms may vary as it differs from person to person and can be observed on all three levels: Physical, Mental and Emotional.

Some students show slight symptom such as getting restless, increased heartbeat, get fidgety, or sweat like a person running on a mill.

Others may go nauseous, pass out or vomit before or during the paper. Or go completely blank which is quite scary and alarming.

As told earlier, this anxiety can make you forget things you have studied and can put you in hard water. No matter how well you were prepared for your exams it can hinder your success.

I am going to break down the Practical tips to reduce your Exam Stress into two parts i.e., Before and In the exams.

Before Exams:

Number 1: Study smartly and know your topics

One of the reasons for being anxious is that you have studied but did not study the way you were supposed to. One thing that you must do is to read your all chapters. If not, at least skim and scan through them and make a list of the topics which are included in your curriculum.

Off course you can also take help from past papers and guess papers to study the important topics.

But to reduce the exam stress, you have to know what topics are included in your course.

Research has shown us that we can enhance our understanding of the topic by listening to others as they explain it to us. This can not only pop up our erroneous bubbles but can also help us internalize those concepts.

The question arises how can anyone utter those concepts to us and why? This is where online lectures come in. No matter where and whatever are you indulge in, you can listen to any online lectures and boost your learning experience.

Another way could be to record your own voice or the teacher’s lecture so that you can hear it back and again while studying.

Number 2: Make a schedule and Stick to it

You might have noticed there are students who know each and everything when you ask them. Moreover, they do not get scared of taking any exams. They are always chill and fun.

Mind it, some smart students may fake anxiety to confuse you!  

Anyhow, what’s exactly missing from you which they have?

To tell you openly, it’s nothing extra science. Its just smart students are organized and prioritize their tasks. They know how to give priorities to their extracurricular activities so that it doesn’t affect their academic life.

So then, how can you organize yourself and be stress-free?

Make yourself a schedule. Divide the subjects and allow the same amount of time to all the subjects.

I know, you may wonder you do make a schedule but still can’t cope up with it.

So the answer is: Try to be realistic about your goals and priorities. You need to understand if you do not give importance to a subject now, then you will have to face the consequences. SOONER or LATER.

Start simple, start at home. On one hand, Set your goals, and keep an open eye on it. I do not say to set your expectations high and presume that you will cover half of the book in one day. But start by keeping important topics in mind and focus on it. Seek help from past papers.

On the other, observe your change, locate how you are responding to the time schedule. Moreover, positively enforce for yourself by giving yourself a small treat after getting your set goals/tasks done. By positive I mean POSITIVE-go for a walk, have a chit chat with your mother or father. Help your siblings in something he/she is struggling with. Try to stay away from your phone as long as you can resist. If the craving increases then set an alarm on it and use it to 15 mins max and GO BACK to studies.

More importantly, Keep reflecting on your task and how you did, how much you have covered and how much is left. In this way, you will be able to declutter all sort of negative thoughts as well you will be able to concentrate on your studies.

At present, you must be wondering if we are to think this much how can we avoid stress and anxiety?

Know that, in stress/ Anxiety and depressing moments everything seems to be dull and gloomy. As well as hopeless, but if you have stronger ties with your kinship then they will pull you out from falling into that unknown abyss. Most of the time, we are expecting too much from others but give none. However, this should be avoided. Also, they will give you the time right

Remember, EXAMS are high time. All other ‘friends’ problems and gossips can wait.

The keynote is that you have to adhere to your study schedule and avoid opting out at all cost as this may have some consequences and may leave you hanging in the mid-air.

You may feel more stressed because it can double the anxiety by reminding that you are not doing what you were supposed to do.

Secondly, if you are not able to follow your own time table religiously then ask your mother or any sibling to remind you from time to time that you have to study. In fact, friends and family help can prove to be more helpful.

Wondering what rubbish is this?

Let me tell you, there is a connection between managing your time and Exam stress!

According to the Law of Control by Brian Tracy,  we feel positive about ourselves and identify happiness when we are in control of things but when we believe that things are getting out of our control. Other things such as friends and family, bills, social media, debts, health are in control then we experience high stress which also strains our nervous system!

So it’s important that you remain in control and make peace with yourself. Prioritize your tasks. Manage and stick to your tentative schedule as well as have better relations with your family members. More importantly, seek help from parents, or close friends or professionals if you think your exam anxiety or any other stress factor is impacting your academic life.

Things to remember In the Exams:

Now if you have taken care of the above-mentioned things but still anxious during your exams then do the following things to relax.

Wondering why is this mentioned in the list when you are breathing 24/7 involuntarily?

You can declutter your mind just by watching your breath.

Inhale a deep breathe and Exhale. You are already feeling relaxed now.

Remember the law of control? We are at peace when we are in control of things. Similarly, you can control most of your task just by getting as well as relax yourself both physically and mentally through deep breathing.

How do you do it? Is there any specific way of doing it?

Yes!

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Take a deep breath through your nose while counting to four in your mind.
  3. Hold your breath and count to four, while counting you can picture the numbers in different colors or use any mental picture that relaxes your mind.
  4. Now, slowly breathe out through your nose, while breathing out imagine all your tension and worries leaving your body.
  5. Just allow your body to remain to relax by repeating it 2-3 times for a few minutes without thinking ‘what, why, how etc’.
  6. Now you are in the state of peace and rhythmic calm.

Number 4: Recall your best Examination Experience and Don’t lose hope!

In our nervousness and anxiety, we forget the times we perform best. Nervousness kicks in and we go blank. The brain does not function as it should be. Moreover, you start to have all sort of negative thoughts.

Avoid falling into this pit.

You must have attempted a paper in which you were at your best. Just think of those times in which you loved attempting your paper Or remember the times when you delivered a killer presentation. Get into that feeling. Don’t think about the praises or the marks you achieved But just Get into that feel: the moment you looked at the paper and smiled. The feel of being confident and energetic. The feel of happiness when you knew the answer to the toughest question. The pride of completing your paper on time. The proud moment for you in which you made your parents happy with your result.

Pull that experience from the past and recall it. If you can do better then; you sure can better now. Just don’t lose hope. Keep yourself in control.

Number 5: Try out these fun exercises during your dreadful moment

Counting

If you are good at visualization or have an imaginative mind then close your eyes and visualize the number in a different number. This may seem like it’s time taking exercise but it will only take 2-3 minutes. Just count to fifty and visualize the numbers in different colors.

This quick exercise will ease you up so that you can stay focused and relaxed.

Say Words in Alphabetical Order

One of the common targets of Stress and Anxiety is our mind. When anxious we start to forget things and the very commonsense things seem to hit you hard as a challenge. We start to lose our grip on the mind and as a result, our mind gets blank.

We can keep our mental functioning by recalling the words that come with a certain alphabet in chronological order. In this way, your brain will start to perform its functions and hence you will be back on track to attempt your paper.

For example:

A- aeroplane

B- bang

C- crash

D- dance

E- egg

F- frog… yadda yadda.

The Palm

In our hands, we have vital pressure points that affect our body. By pressing this point for 90 seconds will improve our health and left us stress-free.

Press the center of the palm with the index finger. As well as do it on both hands and see the results.

Number 6: Live in the moment

We all are taught from the beginning that 2-3 hours in the exam is very crucial. In addition to this, I cannot stress more on its importance. However, our anxiety increases when we start to believe that losing this opportunity means losing your career and life.

Dear all, this is definitely not the case.

You all can perform best when you are fully indulge in the activity. Take your paper as an activity, as an experience itself that should be cherished and enjoyed at all cost. Your goal should be to do complete justice with what you have prepared, what you have studied and what you have learned.

Stressing out at the moment when you cannot recall what you have learned is never going to help you. Attempt the answer which you know best so that you can tell yourself how much you have completed and move on. Remind yourself that you can do best as you know the answer. Moving on can be proved as a good strategy as it helps save time as well as you can always come back to the question in the end.

Remember It’s just a matter of some minutes the answer will all come back to you.

Number 7: Stay Connected With your Creator

Most of the time we are looking for peace from outside sources whereas the peace lies within ourselves. But how to find that free state of peace?

All the healers and Spiritual people maintain that Prayers and Meditations have always worked like a wonder in helping to reduce stress and depression. You can also obtain help from religious practices such as Namaz and Roza(fasting). Offer your obligatory prayers, recite some Ayats and Surah. Keep yourself in Wuzu(ablution).

Furthermore, everything is available online these days, If you are not feeling like reading then listen to someone else recitation in their beautiful voice.  As long as you are connected with the creator no depression and anxiety will come near to hurt you.

Conclusion:

Always remember just a singular event is not going to define you nor is it the end of the world.

Exams are part of life. Whether we give board exams or practical exams of life. You will learn and emerge as a stronger and better person in both ways, failing or achieving higher grades.

If, God forbid, for some reason you are not able to perform great in a single paper or your fear that you will fail the exam then do not lose hope. There are always different path to move on. You can appear in your exam next year with more preparation and more experience.

At the time we do not succeed but it does affect the rotation of the earth nor does the sun stops shining. Just have faith in the creator and remember at the end of the day things happen in your favor. For your betterment. You can always learn and improve.

As long as you are alive, you will continue learning but when you stop and give up that’s the last day of your liveliness.

In this blog post, I have explained all the possible ways to reduce your Examination stress. I am ending up this blog with positive words of Tena Desae

‘’Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people’’.

 

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This post was written by RidaeBatool

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