Exam Anxiety And How To Cope With It?

It’s extremely common for most students to feel jittery and slightly nervous before an important exam. In fact, it is one of the most natural responses to feel nervous and a sort of pressure before an exam (if you truly are serious about it and want it to go well). This sort of pressure is a good pressure and helps in an optimal exam performance. However, if the  magnitude of this pressure/anxiety is so much that you begin feeling overwhelmed and despite efforts can’t deal with it, it can be a sign that you are having 'Exam Anxiety.'
Exam anxiety can make writing the exam extremely difficult, with an uncontrollable flow of intrusive thoughts in the mind. This can hinder your performance and make it suffer significantly.

What Exactly Is Exam Anxiety?

Exam anxiety is a type of performance anxiety. Those who suffer from this condition, feel a strong fear of failure. This fear could result in symptoms that actually come in the way of performing at the optimal level in the exam, irrespective of how well prepared the person is for the exam.

Some signs of  exam anxiety could include a feeling of extreme worry and dread, excessive sweating, fast beating of the heart, fainting and nausea or a phase of depression. If you happen to see any of this happening to you, it may be a hint towards an underlying mental health issue called exam anxiety that you need to address first, in order to give your best performance.

For someone suffering from this condition, taking the exam can become the most difficult part of the equation, as against learning and preparing thoroughly. 

What Are Some Simple Ways To Cope With Exam Anxiety?

If you can relate to these symptoms of exam anxiety, don’t worry as it can be effectively managed. There do exist some simple coping strategies you can incorporate in your lifestyle during the preparation period to ease it out.

Here are Four basic ways to help you cope with Exam Anxiety:

1. Prepare Well

In order to curtail your anxiety, it’s a must that you prepare well, and ahead of time. Pushing things for the last minute is the least helpful way to cope with this problem. In order to prepare well, you could plan out a proper study schedule, and study in a group to feel motivated at all times. If you struggle with a particular subject, you can look out for a tutor to help you learn better and feel more confident.
Once you have made sense of the study material, you should make it a point to write practice tests. Doing so will help you prepare better, give you a fair idea of what works for you, and in turn ease out your stress level during the time of the actual exam.

2. Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

While you prepare, it’s also important that you learn and practice some relaxation techniques that can help you stay calm and confident, both prior to and during the time you write the exam. One of the simplest ways by which you can relax is by engaging in some deep breathing exercises by simply taking deep breaths and relaxing your body muscles. 
Another proven technique you can bank on is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means ‘Being mindful of the present’ i.e. just consciously knowing what we are going through right here and now and then accepting it. For that, you need to close your eyes, bring your focus to the present moment, and acknowledge and accept everything you’re feeling including the anxiety. This could help significantly in feeling more in control of the situation. Before you take the exam, you could also close your eyes, and visualize the real scene with a positive outcome. It’s been observed that doing so actually brings out better results with the exam.

3. Give Importance To Right Nutrition 

Nutrition is the backbone of a healthy brain. Hence,in addition to focusing on  good exam preparation and practicing how to stay calm, it’s also important to focus on your health and nutrition. Just like a car needs fuel to run, so does your brain. Most students who feel anxious before an exam tend to skip their meals during the exam period. However, this should be totally avoided and you must make it a point to remain healthy and eat light but nutritious meals. You should also be careful to avoid sugary aerated or caffeinated beverages as they can make your blood pressure peak and then hit a low. Biologically, consumption of these is actually known to increase anxiety. Instead, you must drink sufficient amount of water and stay well hydrated.

4. Don’t Compromise On Sleep

Lastly and most importantly, get sufficient sleep. One of the most common habits among the students is to stay up late at night. While this, as a lifestyle, should anyway be avoided, it’s even more important to shun it if you’re suffering from exam anxiety.
Sleeping well is directly linked with your performance in the exam. In fact, sleep has an important function in memory and enhances storage of information, also helping in retrieval of the information when required. Hence, one must get some good night’s sleep before the exam and give  your mind and body some proper rest. So skip that late night revision at the last hour or phone calls or TV shows, and instead hit the bed to wake up fresh and best braced for the exam.

Follow these simple tips and that exam anxiety will certainly come down. However, if you still find yourself at sea and feel that the guidance and support  of a professional can help better, don’t hesitate and instead Connect with a Counsellor now!

Let not that Exam Anxiety dampen your performance…Seek Help and Nail that Exam!