Dealing with Exam Anxiety: A Word from The Counselor
As you draw close to the examinations period, preparing yourself is key to making you ready. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the class to do well in an exam. However, if you want to overcome exam panic and make better grades you will need the following:
- Know required material
You have attended classes until the end of the semester, read the course material over and over again to master it. You have already done assignments and tests, so be confident as you go for the exam. Endeavor to discuss with your course mates so as to make sure you understand the content. While reading alone is okay, it can also be easy to mislead yourself. Checking in with your course mates about what you have read helps you to prove that you know the course material.
- Know how to do exams
Knowing how to do exams goes a long way in helping you to know how to control the situation instead of letting the situation control you. Here are some tips to help you manage:
- Get a decent night’s sleep: Getting into an exam with red eyes and a headache due to lack of sleep will not help you do better.
- Arrive early: This helps you to know the location of the venue for the exam and find a comfortable sitting position. In case of changes in venue, you don’t get lost and end up losing valuable time.
- Have an exam-taking plan: As soon as the exam is given out, look at the instructions and take your time to understand the instructions and questions. Don’t spend a lot of time on one question but divide time equally between all questions.
- Watch the clock periodically to make sure you are on track: But don’t be a nervous wreck by looking at it every other minute.
- Know-How To Deal With Exam Anxiety
Exam panic usually stems from doubting that you are adequately prepared for the test. To overcome it you need to keep your mind from worrisome thoughts and your emotions under control. If fear takes over and you become overwhelmed by negativity, the panic will get the better of you even though you know the required material. This is what you should do:
- Avoid negative thinking: Write down all those negative thoughts and challenges, each with a positive statement: For instance, my performance on this exam is not going to determine the rest of my life.
- Avoid cramming: while there may be circumstances when it’s unavoidable, the anxiety of learning under pressure may lessen your ability to retain what you have read. It’s therefore important to read and understand the material, that’s by far a better style to study.
- Approach an exam as a challenge: Try to get yourself into a frame of mind where you want to perform well to challenge yourself and show your lecturer/examiner that you understand the material, rather than letting anxiety get the better of you.
- Be realistic about your difficulties: If you don’t know an answer, you don’t know! Accept that as a fact and proceed. Don’t automatically assume that you won’t know the rest.
- Relax: if you become so tense you will have difficulty thinking or remembering. The first order of business is to calm down. Pay attention to your sitting posture as you get ready to start.
- Try deep breathing: with your mouth closed, inhale through your nostrils, pushing your stomach against your belt. Then pull your stomach in to expel the air. Repeat this cycle until you can think more clearly.
- Focus on the task at hand: Don’t lose your concentration by worrying about how you are doing on the test. Try to finish the exam on time.
- Avoid panic in the middle of the exam: if you observe others finishing ahead of you don’t get frustrated and start rushing through the exam. Stick to your game plan for the exam and work at your comfort level.
Remember you have done exams before, you just need to believe in your ability to perform.
Wishing You Success in Your Forthcoming Exams
By Asiimwe Confidence Nkurunungi (Counsellor)