It’s the big day of your exam. How do you feel about it? Does your mind freeze as you are besieged by nagging thoughts saying that “Oh no. I just can’t do this”? Your heart keeps palpitating and your palms get clammy. Worse, you are gasping for air because you’re having breathing difficulties.
If these symptoms bother you when you take an exam, chances are that you are suffering from exam anxiety. You may be one of the unfortunate people who experience this dreaded condition. What are ways to overcome exam anxiety? Simply put, how do you calm your nerves when taking an exam?
What Are The Two Types Of Exam Anxiety?
To begin with, you ought to know what exam anxiety is. Exam anxiety is a feeling of intense fear and panic that takes place before or while taking an exam. There are two types of this condition:
- Low anxiety. It is when you feel somewhat nervous about an upcoming exam but are still able to keep your focus. Although jittery, you are able to remember the subject matters that you have studied or can render reasonable attention to the questions in your test. Students experiencing low anxiety during an exam are often not struck by negative thoughts nor feel incapacitated by their academic undertaking.
- High anxiety. Students who suffer from high exam anxiety tend to be overwhelmed by their coming feat. They react irrationally when face to face with their exam situation and develop untoward responses by avoidance. Some high anxiety test-takers completely avoid their exams or tackle it with extreme fear. A sense of panic overcomes them and their wits stick to the idea that they are incapable of taking their test.
It’s different strokes for different folks when it comes to exam anxiety. That is, test takers laden with this condition react in varied ways as coping mechanisms. Then again, research has cited that there are ways to manage exam anxiety, which in turn can boost the learners’ performance.
Calm Your Nerves Through Relaxation Techniques and Mindfulness
How do you cool your nerves? Again, there are diverse ways to do so, depending on the triggers of your anxiety. For instance, if you become tremendously anxious before taking an exam, you ought to look for ways to take care of yourself. Get sufficient amounts of sleep and eat healthy. Take time to exercise and execute relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation or yoga. Your anxiety may be overwhelming, but it can be contended with by these small steps.
Relaxation training is another way for highly anxious test takers to manage their condition. In school, this is typically facilitated by psychologists and well-being teams. Other than this, instructors also inculcate effective studying skills. The goal of relaxation training is to assist students in understanding the nature of their condition so that they can better cope with it. A particular technique that falls under this category is the mindfulness practice.
What is mindfulness? Being mindful means being focused on the present moment. You place your thoughts in the time being as you accept your anxious thoughts and feelings and physical reactions.
Another technique in relaxation training is systematic desensitization wherein an individual visualizes a soothing scenery as they relax. In the process of doing so, they experience the close reality of such scenery, consequently evoking calm and relaxed feelings.
What Are Other Tips To Overcome Exam Anxiety?
- Give ample time for your test prep. Consistently study each section of the pertinent subject matter on a daily basis.
- Take practice exams. Studies have shown that taking mock exams is one of the most effective study techniques that prevent exam anxiety.
- Be aware of your anxious feelings. Take notice of your physical responses and acknowledge that you are indeed suffering from exam anxiety.
- Replace your negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Boost your confidence through encouraging self-talk.
- Learn to focus you attention to the task at hand, which is the primary premise of mindfulness. Be in the present moment and prevent niggling thoughts of “what ifs”.
- Ask or look for for social support.
Anxiety can be debilitating, but only if you allow it to be. Overcome your exam anxiety through proper test preparation and taking good care of your health and well-being.
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