Dealing with exam anxiety and pressure 

What are exams?


Exams, both formal and informal, are a way of assessing the learning of the students. The exams test the ability of the students in performing specific tasks and form part of the experience of being a student. These are usually a constant feature in the life of a student. These, along with other forms of assessments are designed in a way that will tell the examiner the student’s ability to perform under pressure within a fixed time frame.


What is anxiety?


According to the dictionary anxiety means a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. It is the displeasing feeling of fear and concern. It is also described as our natural response to threat or sense of an emergency.


When exams are round the corner, it is natural and quite common to feel anxious. In fact it is an expected feeling. While a moderate level of anxiety may be a blessing in disguise, too much of it may be detrimental to your health. A little anxiety may help you in concentrating more on your studies, sharpen your skills and give you an extra energy to do better in exams. But if you go overboard with anxiety, then it can get overwhelming and can prevent you from studying well and performing well in your exams.


Some common symptoms of anxiety widely observed can be mind wandering, lack of sleep, sweaty palms, dry mouth, fast beating of the heart, eat either less or more than what is required, lack of concentration in anything, a feeling of being sick, etc.


So how do you cope with this anxiety? How can you make yourself comfortable and confident about the forthcoming exam?


Listed below are some ways in which you can reduce your anxiety and thereby feel less pressured.


  1. Make sure you sleep adequately – Getting enough sleep is a must. At your age you require a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. Anything less than that comes under sleep deficit. Sleep deficiency can lead to health problems including lack of concentration which in turn can result in poor performance in the exam. So if you are thinking that you will score better by staying awake and studying, think again. It would be more productive if you get a good night of sleep before your exams.


  1. Work on better study habits – Don’t leave your studies for the last minute. Practice your lessons regularly so you don’t have to do all of it right before your exams. Last minute studies can lead to sleep deficiency. (Refer point 1.) Make a list of all the topics to be studied in the order of importance and priority. Then start studying from the top most topic in the list. This will ensure that should you run out of time, you would still have covered the important points. Also follow proper time management. Make sure you calculate how much time you have to study after making provisions for all the works you need to do. This will help you decide how much you can cover, whether you can study in depth or just skim through or just give it one reading. It would also help if you can stay away from TV until your exams are over so that you don’t get distracted.


  1. Keep telling yourself that you will succeed – Every night when you are going to sleep, tell yourself that you will do just fine in the exams. Visual yourself successfully completing the exam and doing well. This will help in building your confidence thereby reducing your anxiety.


  1. Most important is to stay calm no matter what – if you are too stressed, you will not be able to remember things accurately. If you want to perform well in the exams then it is very important that you stay calm at all times. If you feel stressed or anxious, try to do some breathing exercises. This will help in calming the mind and reversing any stress that you may be feeling.  Practice meditation techniques.


Last but not the least, always remember that if you believe that you are being judged by your friends and family only on the basis of your performance in the exams, then you are adding to your stress and further pressurising yourself unnecessarily regarding exams. Also it is important to remember that not doing well in an exam is not necessarily the end of your studies or your dreams. It also does not mean that you are a failure. So have confidence and belief in yourself and believe that you can do well.


All the best..!!

2 responses to “Dealing with exam anxiety and pressure”

  1. Gautham Rao says:

    Useful tips to go about how to deal with exam pressure. A very nice and a informative article.

  2. Mithun B says:

    Confidence is the main thing and even staying calm. I found some nice ways how to go to exams. Thanks a ton for this article

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