Taking exam anxiety head-on

Taking exam anxiety head-on

Confrontation

Taking exam anxiety head-on

Simple changes in your lifestyle, study habits and thinking pattern can minimise that dreaded exam fear, says Alvina Clara

The time of examinations are the most stressful for school children, with sleepless nights and mounting tension. Though exam fear is normal, severe anxiety harshly interferes with your ability to take the test, making you paranoid.

Managing it does make you feel calmer and confident.  Anxiety develops due to fear of the unknown, be it the sort of questions, the crux of the syllabus, the twist in the questions, expected answers, writing style, sufficiency of time etc. Exam anxiety can begin as early as a month preceding the date of the test.

Though a little bit of anxiety will trigger performance, escalating anxiety can create an overturn effect, leading the student to excessive worries, having an unrealistic view of problems, restlessness, muscle aches and lower concentration, ultimately crashing down.

A planned schedule, a rigid revision chart, regular prayer, a good combo of diet, exercise, sleep, and positive thinking are tools that increase confidence levels to cope with uncertainty. Controlling your anxiety is the first way to tackle your underlying fears and achieving confidence to tackle the test.

Here are ways to manage your anxiety levels:

* The first step is to take the prelims seriously as an indicator of your performance. Preliminary exams are crucial as they are a rehearsal right before the final exam.

One’s score in the prelims will give a hint of where one is and the amount of effort required to increase performance. Be neither too overconfident with high grades nor depressed with low grades. Have a realistic view of preparedness required and let the efforts match it.

* Follow a stringent time table or routine. Be prepared, thoroughly revise your portions. Scan through previous question papers and source the expected answers. Being prepared well in advance reduces last minute stress and burden.

Do space rest breaks between study hours. You will not only feel revived but also fresh enough to absorb more information as you read though.

* The days before the approaching exam, be watchful on your diet. Eat nutritious and energy boosting foods with a helping of fruits and green leafy vegetables. Sip a lot of water and fresh juices throughout the day. Say a total ‘no’ to fried, spicy and sugary stuff.

Avoid caffeinated drinks — they temporarily keep you awake, but your energy levels will later crash, making you feel low and dehydrated.

* Regular exercise releases stress, keeping you revitalised and relaxed. You can opt for a brisk walk, early morning jog or cycling. Practise yoga and meditation. Breathe deeply, visualising negative energy leaving your body as you exhale.

* Lighten up the night before your test. A last-minute revision can help you remember facts, but vexing over last-minute studying is likely to cause you more anxiety. This would have a reverse effect, dimming your recall ability.

If have prepared thoroughly, just calm down by distracting yourself with a television show or a good book. Avoid going to bed too late.

* On the day of the exam wake up early morning. Start the day with a light wholesome breakfast that doesn’t weigh you down or make your feel drowsy.

Check your bag to ensure you have all stationary you need for the test. Before leaving, recite a prayer if it will help you. Close your eyes and imagine yourself calmly taking the test. Picture that everything is going on well. Lastly, ask your family for support and wishes .Get to the exam hall early, so you can take your seat and organise yourself.

* During the exam, stay calm, glance to your question paper in the first few minutes. If you are not sure about an answer, do not worry. Write to the point and be conscious of the set time. Do not get distracted, and avoid comparisons of answers. Write your paper sincerely and own up the marks.

* After the tests are over, celebrate. Reward yourself with a break you deserve after all of your studying. Go for a picnic, or for shopping, cuddle yourself in nature through an adventure ride. Pat your back when you have managed it all, and be affirmative that the results will turn out well. When you have given in your best , the rest will follow.

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