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Examination Anxiety - How Can You Handle It?

Dr. Chadha 94% (793 ratings)
Ph.D, M.Phil - Psychology
Psychologist, Mathura  •  33 years experience
Examination Anxiety - How Can You Handle It?

The exam season has arrived. Students can be seen immersed in their books and notes. Excitement is in the air and so is anxiety. While the former is a good thing to see, the latter raises concerns in the minds of parents and teachers but the fact is that anxiety before exams is a normal thing. The pressure to perform will make students experience nervousness, which is alright, but only if it is up to a limit. If it reaches an unhealthy level, it needs to be managed. If a student experiences the following symptoms before exams, then the anxiety is unhealthy and it is time for a session with a psychologist.

  1. Excessive sweating
  2. Fast heartbeat
  3. Nausea
  4. Headache
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Difficulty in breathing
  7. Lightheadedness
  8. Dizziness
  9. Dry mouth
  10. Gastrointestinal discomfort

These symptoms are an indication of the student being in the grip of panic and fear. Nevertheless, it can be managed and controlled with the following tips.

  1. Make a study plan for preparation: In some cases, students get anxious because they are not ready with the preparation and days before the exam, they feel at a loss as to how they will answer the questions in the exam. To avoid this, students should make a plan for preparation, devoting adequate time to each topic so that the entire syllabus is covered and their preparation is complete.
  2. Meditate and try breathing techniques: Meditation is a great relaxation technique that soothes the mind and body. Also, taking deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling) for 15 to 20 minutes can go a long way in controlling the symptoms of anxiety. In addition, meditation gives you confidence, removes negative thoughts and also improves your concentration and memory.
  3. Exercise regularly: Getting involved in physical activity before an exam seems like a waste of time to many but it is necessary to avoid tension and stay healthy. So, if sports cannot be indulged into, one should go for exercises such as stretching and aerobics as they relax the tensed muscles and keep fatigue at bay.
  4. Eat green vegetables and light food: Eating healthy is also important during exam preparation. If one skips meals or takes recourse to fast foods, it makes anxiety worse. In fact, junk food makes one drowsy. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are light and easy to digest. They also provide complete nutrition and ensure the sustained release of energy during the study sessions.
  5. Sleep well: Many students compromise on sleep thinking it would help in studies but lack of sleep leads to poor focus and concentration which further affects the studies. It also makes one irritable and drowsy. So, one should make sure that one is getting 6 hours of sleep every day.

Exam anxiety is not an uncommon phenomenon. In fact, it is said that a small amount of anxiety is a good thing as it motivates one to perform better. It leads to nervous energy which keeps one alert but the moment it gets out of hand, it is a cause for concern. So, one must seek help if one is experiencing the anxiety symptoms and follow the above-mentioned tips. It will surely help a student.

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