Usually, as school opens, the excitement that springs from reunion of students is almost met with the same quantum of home-sickness that hover over the learners’ belonging and feeling.
Examination anxiety is a combination of perceived psychological arousal, feeling of worry, fear and tension that occurs during time of test. It is a terrible feeling of sickness and most students call it examination fever. In this situation students experience extreme stress and discomfort during and before taking a test.
Test anxiety is very common among students in the whole world. These responses of stress can drastically hinder an individual’s ability to perform well in class and may also bring negative effects in one’s social, emotional and behavioural development. Students also tend to develop negative attitudes about themselves and school.
How do you know you have developed anxiety?
You may have negative thoughts about failing or not performing well. This will prevent you from thinking clearly.
Worrying too much will interfere with your concentration. You will always be destructed and have trouble with remembering what you may have revised.
When you find yourself worried about other people scoring higher than you and think that you are not competent enough, you lose your self esteem which makes you unable to think and act effectively about the task ahead of you.
The above symptoms will cause you physical reactions like headache, stomachache, nausea, sweating, rapid breathing, and this actually becomes a kind of illness that disrupts your performance.
Examination anxiety can also be caused by pressure from other people, past experience and fear of failure. A student who has always led others in tests can easily develop pressure and become anxious.
The urge to achieve a perfect score in order to be accepted and loved by parents may also cause anxiety.
Education anxiety can be dealt with. Students are advised to try and be familiar with tips that can help them eliminate symptoms of anxiety before taking a test.
- Identify your negative thoughts and try to challenge them. You may say to yourself “I am going to fail”.
- Challenge the statement by saying “I must pass”. There is no reason why you feel negative about your ability and there is no reward for negative thinking.
- Organise yourself mentally and physically. Make yourself a schedule and be realistic about how much you can study in one sitting. Reading late involves cramming and this easily causes anxiety.
- Sleep well the night before the test. Don’t take coffee since it will make you fail to get sleep. Sleeping late will make you tired and irritable the day of the test. Go to sleep early and wake up early so that you don’t rush for the test.
- Sit alone and avoid talking to your friends who may seem to be anxious. Anxiety is contagious.
- Be confident as you approach the exam. Just feel free and look at it as an opportunity for you to see how much you have studied and to award yourself pride for all the studying you have done.
- Don’t forget to eat; your brain needs food calories to function well. Drink a lot of water but not alcohol; however avoid sugary drinks which can cause your blood sugars to rise and fall.
During the test;
- Read directions carefully
- Budget your time
- Change sitting positions to help you relax.
- Skip the questions you don’t understand well and get back to them later.
- Don’t panic if others finish before you. Take your time which you budgeted for.
- If time seems to be running out, concentrate on the questions you know and understand better.
After the test, anxiety can still occur and it is still important to avoid it especially when you still have more tests in other subjects ahead of you. It is not good to go over the questions with others again because you cannot change your answers. Just reward yourself for having tried.
Learning to beat examination anxiety is hard and takes time, but facing it will help you learn stress management, which can be applied in other situations besides exam taking.