While it may be consoling to know that you are not alone in sometimes over-stressing about writing exams, you still need to find a way to manage your test-taking anxiety.
Mind Over Matter
Keep things in perspective. The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now but, in the grander scheme of your whole life, they are only a small part. Interrupt negative thoughts with positive ones. Examples: “I can do this”, “I will do my best”, “I can pass this test”, “I will focus only on the question in front of me”, "I have done it before, so I can do it again." Actively challenge your irrational thoughts. Life will be worth living regardless of the results of this exam. Respect yourself for getting this far, irrespective of the outcome.
Without undermining the validity of the crippling effects of test-taking anxiety, repeat after me until it rings true: “Remember passing an exam is only part of the story. There’s always a second chance or another way to reach your goals.”
Next up (and to help you before the next round of exams turn you into a quivering gloop), you need to examine what the root cause of your anxiety is.
The four main areas which can contribute to your exam anxiety are:
1. Lifestyle issues – such as inadequate rest, poor, too many stimulants, insufficient exercise, not scheduling available time, not prioritising commitments.
2. Information needs – namely, strategies for exam-taking, academic information (like course requirements, lecturers' expectations, exam dates and exam location), knowledge of how to apply anxiety reduction techniques while studying before an exam.
3. Poor Studying Styles - Inefficient: inconsistent content coverage; trying to memorize the textbook; binge studying; all-night studying before exams.
Ineffective: reading without understanding; cannot recall the material; not making revision notes; not revising.
4. Psychological Factors – for example:
Feeling little or no control over the exam situation (rather than knowing and applying exam strategies),
Negative thinking and self-criticism (rather than being one's own best friend),
Irrational thinking about exams and outcomes,
Irrational beliefs "If I don't pass, my (family/boyfriend/girlfriend/friends) will lose respect for me" or "I will never get a Degree”,
Irrational demands "I have to get at least a 2.1 or I am worthless”,
Catastrophic predictions "I'll fail no matter what I do—there’s no point”.
Knowledge is Power
“Well, duh!” (That’s why you’re struggling your ass off at varsity, right?) But the knowledge we are talking about here is self-awareness. By knowing the why behind your excessive stress, you take back your power to fix it.
In case you missed it: Part 1
Next: Part 3
If you’re feeling anxious about exams, you’re not alone. Talking to someone and finding ways to cope during exam time can help. Remember that Dux is here to help you reach your goals.
“Dux dʌks noun
The top pupil in a school or class.”