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How to cope with examination anxiety

Published:Sunday | January 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Messam
Clipart Graphic Female University Student Using Laptop In Lecture

Exams anxiety is as common as the cold in many students, and many undergo it periodically. "I really get anxious whenever the exam cycle approaches," remarked Peta Gaye Brown, a student at the University of Technology (UTech).

You can recall how you felt on your first day of high school. Or perhaps it was earlier today or last week that you got "butterflies" when you began a final chemistry examination or Maths examination, or played a big league game, or took off for the first time in an aeroplane.

All these experiences represent unknowns that signal possible discomfort or danger. In such cases, anxiety is normal and even useful. It can make you prepare hard, especially for your exams.




Anna Green says that she felt anxious about getting ready for school one morning. A mild case of test anxiety may only feel like a few butterflies in your stomach as you head towards your examination room. There may be a little shaking of the hands as the test is given out.

"Reassure yourself that you have studied and made the necessary preparation for your exams," says Dr Anthony Allen, a St Andrew based consultant psychiatrist. "The best technique for success when you take any test is being prepared," he adds. "Become so acquainted with the material that you do not have to hear all of the questions before you say the answer.

Why do some people suffer from test anxiety?

1. Failing an expensive course or semester.

2. Failing to qualify for a job.

3. Not getting into the college, programme, or course.

Allen offers some suggestions to overcome anxiety.

To prevent test anxiety it is best to:

1. Stay healthy. Good diet and exercise help to create a sense of well-being that prevent more severe forms of test anxiety.

2. Stay away from stress as much as you possibly can.

3. Keep a well-organised routine in your life. Keep away from insignificant things that clutter your mind.

4. Take a good look in the mirror each morning and appreciate and love the smart, witty person that's there.


Treating test anxiety


Despite the various preventative ideas, you may develop some signs of test anxiety. Here are some best practices to manage it when it raises its ugly head.

1. Confront your fears. Maintain high self-esteem and be confident. Record the problem and then the solution.

2. If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail. There is no excuse for non-preparation.

3. Excuse yourself from a myriad excuses. Do not say "I did not have time to study because of family, job, or community projects. Or, "I got sick the day before the test, so I was unable to study."

4. Literally visualise your way to success. Key your mental eyes on the prize. If you wish success, according to writer Joseph Addison, make perseverance your friend, experience your wise counsellor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.