Sweaty palms, palpitations, and blanking out – these are the signs of anxiety, a common occurrence during examinations. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous before and during a school exam, but sometimes it can be so severe that it heavily impacts your exam performance. In certain individuals, anxiety can even manifest in physical discomfort like headache or nausea, further distracting them from the task at hand.
Is there any way to overcome exam anxiety? Often, we share about the best ways to study for exams, including effective study techniques, and how to study for your year-end exams. But all that will be wasted if you are so crippled by anxiety that you cannot put what you practiced into action.
While there’s no magic pill for preventing anxiety, here are some things that may be able to help you get those jitters under control for your next big test.
1. Identify why you are anxious
Why are you even anxious? One student’s reason for feeling overwhelmed might not be the same reason why you can’t seem to let your mind settle.
Are you anxious because you didn’t have time to finish studying? Or because you are afraid you won’t be able to reach your target grade?
It helps to understand why you are feeling this way, and address the root of the anxiety wherever possible.
2. Be sufficiently prepared
Most students find that their anxiety stems from not being confident in their abilities. They may have been unable to finish studying, or still have doubts that they didn’t manage to clarify.
The bright side: These can be solved with sufficient study time and preparation!
For your next test, try your best to start studying earlier, and plan out your study schedule to finish before your test day. Here in our classes like IP Math tuition, we always plan our lessons to teach ahead of the school curriculum, and incorporate revision lessons before our students’ major test periods. To avoid last minute cramming, we also encourage students to voice out their doubts as soon as they arise, instead of waiting until the week before the exam.
3. Create a pre-test routine
If you’re someone who thrives with a routine, this may help you. Having a consistent set of actions to follow before a test may help reduce feelings of uncertainty and unpreparedness.
No pre-test routine yet? Think back to your previous exam experiences and identify what works for you or what needs to be changed. For example, did having that coffee right before the exam worsen your anxiety tummy ache and headache? Then, from now on, avoid coffee right before any test!
Another example: Some students find it helpful to pack their transparent pencil case the night before, so they won’t panic trying to select a handful of pens right outside the exam hall.
4. Use a relaxation technique
Deep breathing, reframing your mindset, and stretching exercises are some things you can do before a test to calm yourself down. These actions force your body to relax and prevent the feelings of anxiety from escalating too much.
You can do these as part of your pre-test routine: for example, take a few moments to refocus your mind and take deep breaths while you wait for the exam paper to be handed out.
5. Take care of your body
Part of maintaining a healthy relationship with stress is knowing how to take care of your body – including eating well, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. While you may be tempted to stay up studying the night before, keep in mind that a sleepy mind is more irritable and prone to stress.
Where possible, avoid high-sugar foods and caffeinated drinks, as they tend to cause the mind to feel sluggish after the initial energy spike. Exercising regularly will also help to release tension and regulate stress levels in the lead up to the exam.
6. Talk to a counsellor
If dealing with exam stress is a big struggle for you, it may help to talk about it with a counsellor. They can help you work through your thoughts and feelings surrounding exam-taking, and help you craft personalised strategies to manage your feelings better.
meant to measure your learning progress and ability, but being overwhelmed with stress can sometimes be detrimental to your performance. So, while some level of stress is inevitable and could even be helpful, being debilitated by it isn’t a good thing.
If you decide that you need tutoring to guide you in exam preparation to avoid last-minute stress, we’re here for you! Be it IP Chemistry tuition or IP English tuition, we have it. Rather than adding to your stress, classes at Future Academy are engaging and nurturing, thanks to our patient and friendly tutors. Our students tell us they look forward to lessons each week, and they enjoy learning and building up their confidence in their weakest subjects.
Contact us today to find out more and arrange your class!