Managing Exam Anxiety

As you return from half term and head back into exams, Alex has written a blog with some ideas of how to manage exam anxiety.

dauntingDo you sometimes feel excessively worried about upcoming exams? Fear about the consequences of not passing? You can’t focus and your mind keeps going blank?  If this sounds familiar then this article is perfect for you.

The first thing you should know is that you’re not a freak for feeling exam anxiety, because all students feel like this at some point.

Exam anxiety may occur for many reasons, including:

  • Lifestyle issues (inadequate rest, poor nutrition, not scheduling your time properly etc.)
  • Psychological factors (such as negative thinking, self-criticism and irrational thoughts eg. “I’ll fail no matter what I do.”)
  • Inefficient or ineffective studying techniques (eg. trying to memorize the whole textbook, pulling all-nighters, reading without understanding, not studying, not reviewing what you’ve learned)

It can affect you in many ways such as headaches, insomnia, loss of focus, mood swings and difficulty concentrating.

Here are some ideas of how you can lessen exam anxiety:

  1. Effective studying: Plan your studying (and breaks!), don’t try and cram everything in the night before the exam (too much material + too little time= BOOM anxiety)
  2. Healthy lifestyle: Get into a regular sleep routine, eat well, get some exercise if you can.
  3. Think positively: Try to avoid self -defeating thoughts/cynicism, and remember, your worth is not dependent on your exam grade. Examples of positive thoughts include: I can do this! I will do my best! My grade does not define me as a person. (This isn’t only relevant to exams, you can use it in all areas of life)
  4. Reward yourself: Reward yourself for your hard work! Plan something fun for after exams.
  5. Use anxiety reduction techniques: There are lots of resources online for methods of reducing anxiety. For example, using relaxation techniques, colouring books, controlling your breathing, mindfulness or chatting to your pets.

I hope that everyone who’s read this article has found it useful. Remember that your best is good enough.

Alex

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