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Overcoming Exam Anxiety

Mindgroom Services
28/11/2016 0 0


Exam anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced before, during, or after an examination because of concern, worry, or fear. Almost everyone experiences some anxiety. But some students find that anxiety interferes with their learning and test taking to such an extent that their grades are seriously affected.


What can be done about it?

Fortunately, there is a great deal that you can do to keep the anxiety from interfering with your performance. First, it's important to know that you don't have to eliminate it entirely. It helps to be "up" for exams. You just want to reduce the anxiety to a manageable level.

Getting prepared for the exam is more than half the battle. Attend all of your classes, find out what you're expected to know and when the exams are scheduled. Keep up with your work so that you can avoid "cramming" for exams. Become more efficient in your study habits. Have a study schedule that makes use of "wasted time". Study in a location where you can concentrate, get interested in the material, and give it your complete attention. Use a method such as SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) for reading your textbooks. Make flashcards and review them often. Learn how to take good notes. Go over them right after class and review periodically. Make outlines and summary sheets. Ask yourself, "What is the important information?" Being in a study group with motivated classmates is often helpful. Most colleges have Reading and Writing Centers to help you improve your study and test taking skills. Free tutoring is also usually available. In general, organized, self-confident students with efficient study habits may actually spend less time studying than others who receive lower grades.


So How Do You Get To Be Self Confident?

Self-talk. Research shows that the self-talk of test-anxious students almost always tends to be negative and self-defeating. "Everyone in this class is smarter and faster than I am." "I always mess up on tests." "If I don't do well on this exam, then I'll flunk the course." "These are trick questions." "This is a weed-out course."

Become aware of what you say to yourself. Try writing your negative thoughts and then disputing each one with a positive statement. Start to encourage yourself as you would a friend. Repeating your positive statements to yourself will help reprogram your mind for success instead of for failure.


Other Techniques

lVisualize yourself doing well and reaching your goals.

lAim for an A level of understanding. Don't overprotect yourself by saying you'll be lucky to get a C, so why study more?

lTry not to compare yourself with others.

lBecome an expert in learning what is going well and what you can do to improve. Collect data by keeping a journal.

lReward yourself after studying instead of getting involved in avoidance behaviors.

lPractice relaxing (progressive relaxation, self-hypnosis, guided imagery, etc.) so that relaxation becomes an automatically learned response.

lAim for a state of relaxed concentration. When you concentrate, you have all of your energy focused on your work with none wasted on worry.

lTake care of yourself by eating well and getting enough sleep.

lPlan time to exercise regularly and do it.


Test Taking Strategies Before exam:

lTake a practice test the day before with conditions as much like the test as possible.

lReview your summary sheets for an overall view of the material. Recite in your own words

lGet enough sleep. Avoid caffeine which increases anxiety.

lRemember to encourage yourself and STOP critical statements.

lGive yourself time to feel composed and to be on time for the exam. Avoid anxious classmates who are talking about the exam.


Test taking Strategies during exam:

lLook over the entire test, READ THE DIRECTIONS, plan your approach, and schedule your time.

lStart with the easiest question first.

lFocus your attention on the test. Don't waste time and energy worrying, thinking about the consequences of not doing well, or wondering what others are doing.

lIf you don't know an answer, mark the question.

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