BEST Tips for Managing Anxiety at Exam Times

In situations of evaluation, it is common to experience some nervousness or tension. When the situation is secondary exams, the weight given to these exams increases this nervousness and anxiety. These exams are not just another assessment; they imply a greater emotional burden due to the implications they have for the student’s later journey. Its results can affect vocational choices and, consequently, the adolescent’s future life.

Anxiety at normal levels is beneficial for the motivation and effectiveness of the study and helps to combat tiredness, as it mobilizes the energy necessary to effectively overcome a situation considered by the body as demanding. The sooner someone starts to study, the more time they will have to do it and they will be satisfied to be fulfilling the goals they set, entering a healthy cycle: studying – feeling good – studying more and better – becoming more confident and less anxious. We advise the same strategy in our Knowledge Vibes Academy for the students during exams.

Anxiety is a problem when preparing for the exam some of the following situations occur:

  • Recurrent thoughts about the possibility of the subject that is least perceived to leave the exam.
  • Remember exams that went less well.
  • Remember countless tasks that remained to be done, irrelevant as they may be (tidying up the room, being with friends, talking to a family member …).
  • Make excuses for not studying.
  • Call into question the knowledge that one has about the discipline (“I don’t remember anything”).
  • Reorganize the study plan/timetable but do not comply with it.
  • Give up the day before because you think you are not well prepared or because “you still don’t know everything”.

During the exam, anxiety can manifest itself in the following ways:

  • Physical discomfort and malaise (sweating, headaches, stomach pain, dizziness, etc.).
  • “White”.
  • Negative thoughts and incompetence (“I am not able”; “I don’t know anything”; “I am stupid”)).
  • Decision to withdraw from the exam.

So that anxiety does not win, before the exam we suggest that the student:

  1. Prepare the exam in advance.
  2. Make a study plan with a detailed timetable covering the whole subject and with achievable goals.
  3. Do not take medication for anxiety unless it has been prescribed by a doctor.
  4. Take exams from previous years.
  5. Study in a light and airy place.
  6. Take the time to be with your friends.
  7. On the eve of the exam, review all the material, but don’t make it “direct”.
  8. Eat and sleep properly.
  9. Don’t study until dawn and sleep during the day.
  10. Take breaks between study hours and do some physical exercise.
  11. Have realistic expectations.
  12. Be positive (“I am capable”; “it will go well because I am going to study”).
  13. Maintain concentration and attention.
  14. If the anxiety is too much, seek help from a psychologist.

During the exam:

  1. On the day of the exam, arrive early, and avoid situations that generate anxiety (anxious colleagues, answering questions, memorizing material …).
  2. Read the entire statement carefully.
  3. Start by answering the questions you know best and the easiest.
  4. Properly control the time you have for each question.
  5. Make small schemes of the answers so that they are more organized and not forget anything.
  6. Be honest, don’t copy.
  7. Focus on the task, try not to be distracted by what’s going on around you.
  8. Use relaxation and stress management techniques (eg, breathe/exhale; stop negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts; monitor thinking and argue reasons for focusing; repeat “calm, calm…” and breathe deeply; take an object of “transition” and touch it; think of happy situations; positive self-instructions).
  9. When the exam is over, reread it and clarify what is not very clear.

It is important to remember that without adequate preparation, there is no anxiety control strategy that allows a good performance!

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