5 Strategies for Managing Exam Anxiety
Do you find yourself freezing during exams and struggling to think clearly? Does your heart beat fast, and do you feel like you can’t catch your breath?
Experiencing any of these sensations just before or during exams is a good indication you have exam anxiety. Most people feel a degree of anxiety before a test, but for some, it can be debilitating and seriously impact their results.
Are you looking to learn more about exam anxiety and what you can do about it? We’ll dive deeper into it and provide more clarity for you in this article.
What Does Exam Anxiety Feel Like?
Exam anxiety can bring on a series of mental and physical symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Here are just some symptoms you may experience if you suffer from exam anxiety:
- A feeling of panic or distress
- Racing thoughts
- Trouble sleeping
These symptoms can be difficult and alarming to deal with, especially if they are severe. If you feel that you are suffering from exam anxiety, please be sure to speak with your professor and a professional. They may be able to provide you clarity and help to manage exam anxiety.
What Causes Exam Anxiety?
The physical symptoms of anxiety are triggered by what’s known as your ‘fight or flight’ response.
When you worry about exams your brain perceives a threat to your physical safety.
In response to this threat, the brain floods your body with adrenaline to prepare it to run away or stay and fight. Being in an exam situation where you can’t work this adrenaline off only makes your anxiety worse.
The best way to avoid triggering this response is to take notice of when your anxiety starts so you can nip it in the bud. Whether your anxiety is intense or just frustrating, our strategies will help you relax and perform at your best.
How to Overcome Exam Anxiety
There are many methods that you can use to help ease the tension and stress that exam anxiety brings. One of the most important things to do is to talk about it with your professor or a trusted friend or family member.
It’s important to let others know how you’re feeling and avoid keeping it bottled up inside.
Here are more strategies that you can use to help calm your test anxiety.
There are many different types of meditation, and a lot of great resources available online can help you decide which one works best for you.
At its simplest, meditation is about quieting the chatter of your ‘monkey mind’ by focusing on your breathing. The endless chatter of your inner voice causes anxiety, which is why learning to turn down its volume is such a powerful tool.
One of the best methods for managing anxiety is mindfulness training.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves focusing on the present moment. Rather than trying to turn down your inner voice, you simply need to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts without trying to change them.
When you learn to accept your anxiety and just sit with it, the emotion loses much of its power.
Visualisation is another form of meditation which you can use to reduce anxiety.
Sit in a quiet place and imagine yourself entering the exam room calmly. Savour the feeling of relaxation and competence as you sit at your desk and complete the exam.
Leave the room with a smile on your face, knowing you’ve done well.
The idea behind visualisation is that by mentally practicing a situation you can help yourself relax in real life. The reason this strategy works is because your neurons can’t tell the difference between real life and imagination.
4. Positive self-talk
The things you tell yourself have a big impact on how you feel.
If your self-talk is negative and critical, it’s going to contribute to harmful emotions such as anxiety and depression. Take notice of the sort of things you tell yourself daily, particularly in the lead-up to exams. Replace every negative comment with a positive one.
For example, change “I’m going to mess up this exam like I always do,” to “I’m going to try my hardest and get the best result for me.”
You’ll be surprised what a difference positive self-talk can make.
The practice of yoga was invented in India over 5000 years ago, and the reason it’s still popular today is because it works.
This practice not only helps release tension through stretching and movement, but it also calms and focuses the mind. Yoga can give you a sense of well-being and inner peace that will help you tackle your exams with confidence. There are many excellent videos on Youtube for beginners to get you started.
Exam Anxiety in Students
Exam anxiety is real and can be difficult to deal with. If you are struggling with this, try the strategies that we have outlined above to reach your full potential.
One last strategy that you can try is to invest in tutoring. A tutor will not only help and support you in your learning journey, but they can also be a trusted mentor to talk to when you’re feeling exam anxiety.
When you’re feeling stressed, they can help create an action plan to target the areas of a subject that you are most worried about.
At Tutor Doctor, we provide one-to-one tutoring and match our tutors to you based on your needs.
If you’re feeling the pressure of exam anxiety, contact us today to find out more about how we can help you reach your full potential!