Exam anxiety, it is very common in our time. You draw a blank while you intuitively know what you knew about the subject of the exam. It can also be an ordeal that is made up of feelings of insecurity, fears, contrary thoughts, anguish, tremors, tachycardia, even the night before you may go without sleep. This is all part of exam anxiety. In this post I will tell you some tricks to avoid having such a bad time and be able to answer the exam questions.
What is Exam anxiety
This anxiety is characterized by a set of emotions that students feel when faced with the opportunity to pass an exam. It can be described as an intense and persistent fear of the experience of taking an exam. Although it mostly appears in tests, oral, written, reports, answering questions in class among others.
It is also present in public interventions, since the reason for its appearance is that the person’s ability is evaluated.
An important aspect when applying the tips and advice is to know more about your exam anxiety.
It can be considered “anticipatory” when it occurs when studying for an exam, in which case it is very problematic. Then there is the “situational”-which occurs during the performance of the exam, this is no less than the previous classification, but involves different work.
Why evaluation anxiety arises
It arises as a reaction to the possibility of something adverse or stressful. And like any other type of anxiety, in this case it also affects the student on a mental and bodily level. On a physical level it causes sweating, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing. It should be noted that these physical consequences range from a mild to a high level.
Another trigger of anxiety is not knowing oneself and therefore concentrating on the bad, allowing the natural anxiety of being evaluated to rise to a higher level and become a problem. It is difficult to manage because by feeding on negative thinking, the anxious student feels insecure because he/she knows that anxiety levels are rising and therefore the chances of passing and enjoying the exam start to plummet.
The biggest problem of Exam anxiety
This problem occurs in students who prepare the most and master a subject, but at the time of an exam anxiety takes away the possibility of remembering the knowledge studied. Maybe you are thinking about eliminating anxiety, but it is not necessary to think about the impossible. Anxiety contributes its own and is necessary because it is the response of human beings to adapt to a new environment that they perceive as adverse.
There are many aspects that can turn this response that badly managed is problematic, they are:
Very high expectations of the environment. (Parents, friends, teachers)
A deficit in the reinforcement of the achievements made
A lot of comparison with the academic performance of a classmate.
Having very unpleasant reactions to oneself when going through situations where one has a low performance.
Social factors that increase evaluation anxiety
Worldwide percentages indicate that between 15% and 25% of students may have high levels of test anxiety and that this is a determining factor in their academic performance. In many cases, anxiety can also be considered as one of the causes of high school failure. All this caused by the social changes of our time where it is relevant the increase of competitiveness, family pressure and social pressure.
What to do in the face of anxiety
To be able to use this advice the important thing is that when you have an episode of anxiety of evaluation you take into account the emotions that are present to be able to detect when the levels of anxiety begin to soar in this way apply relaxation techniques, such as the following:
Abdominal breathing It is a strong and slow breathing until you fill your lungs with air and then release.
Become aware of thoughts and their messages
When exam anxiety occurs it is always accompanied by thoughts that are not uncomfortable and are the ones to discover why passing an exam becomes so difficult. Once discovered, we proceed to question the message and find out if it is useful or counterproductive and thus arrive at a new, more balanced and realistic message.
I will explain some reflections of the most common thoughts or cognitive distortions in case of blocking or blank mind:
Overgeneralization: It is the interpretation of events as negative and under the frame of defeat. It would be presented as if you do not pass an exam you can not handle the subject. When in reality there is a second instance or second chance.
Minimization and Magnification: It is the tendency to give much relevance to mistakes over successes. Many times it can be considered that you pass by luck and one thing is clear: Luck cannot be trained but the mind can.
Selective abstraction: It occurs when all the attention is placed on a detail that takes it out of context. For example, you are in the exam and you can’t answer a question and it means that you are going to fail.
Anticipating the future: You take it for granted that things will go wrong without allowing yourself to try a different way.
Planning goals several months in advance is very helpful in avoiding high levels of anxiety. The more planning you do, the better your results in the face of anxiety. If you are able to foresee what to study per day and weeks. The objectives, both long, medium and short term with which planning is done will become realistic. Which helps to get away from the frustrations of not arriving calm in terms of preparation for an exam.
Tips for passing anxiety
Stay focused on the present. Try to take it one step at a time. One question that can really help you is “What do I have to do now?
When you feel stressed take time to relax or unwind. You can go outside for a few minutes to get some air.
Do not try to think that anxiety can be eliminated, but know that it is present, but you have to be careful that it is at the right levels.
Avoid thinking about anxiety all the time and focus more on the next step.
Prepare in the best way for an exam.
Use anxiety with an active approach. Let it remind you that you are prepared to ace the exam with flying colors.
Take care of yourself!
I mean take care of yourself in general, get enough sleep, exercise, eat healthy. You can’t perform at your best mentally if you don’t have a lifestyle to go with it.