How To Deal With Exams Anxiety- By Dr Kunal Kala
While some stress is a normal response to an anticipated event, like exam writing, but when that stress gets out of control it can be debilitating and make test preparation a very difficult task. Therefore, the best thing to do is to manage...
While some stress is a normal response to an anticipated event, like exam writing, but when that stress gets out of control it can be debilitating and make test preparation a very difficult task. Therefore, the best thing to do is to manage the stress and make sure that it does not break down your physical, mental or emotional health.
Although it is normal to have some anxiety and stress during exam and everybody experience it. There are some individual who are more prone to be anxious. A typical case would be a student who is by nature anxious and sensitive and has been over-protective by parents who worry excessively about his anxiety and sensitivity. Such people have tendency to experience more and more stress with every oncoming exam. Sometimes harsh, critical and punishing school environment could make students feel excessive exam stress. At times students would try to escape exams by feeling ill and have somatic symptoms like trembling, headache etc.
Common symptoms of anxiety are palpitation, sweating, increased or decreased appetite, fearful dreams etc. Besides the emotional, psychological and somatic symptoms, student who experience exam anxiety may have magnified anxiety thoughts like “I’ll expelled from the school”, “I’ll be humiliated”.
Anxiety hampers the performance and the student might be feeling that his/her mind is blocked that leads to further thoughts that “I may not be able to recall anything.”
These students often perform well in non-exam situations. They have the ability to comprehend, recall, in a situation where they are not being tested. But when they enter examination hall they start feeling palpitations, sweating, mind blocked and an extreme sense of anxiety as if something dangerous will happen. This leads to difficulty in comprehension and recall because of which students actually not able to perform well in exam. When they come out of examination hall they recall most of the things. Exam anxiety and poor performance in the exam reinforce the anxiety thoughts that they would not able to perform.
Now here are some suggestions to students, parents and teachers:
• Its important to develop some stress busters in your daily life like deep breathing, physical exercises, relaxing stretches or listening to calm music.
• Eat a nutritious diet and get plenty of sleep.
• It’s important to study in a relaxed, systematic and graded manner (easy to difficult) with short breaks to prevent mental fatigue.
• Taking mock test in small groups, it helps to deal with exam stress.
• If the problem persists should take psychological help.
For Parents and teachers:
• Supportive and non-critical environment is important.
• Encouraging and helping them develop realistic evaluation of their academics help them to overcome the magnified thoughts of anxiety during exam stress.
(The Author is Managing Director of Ludhiana-based Mind Plus Retreat- India’s first state of the art neuropsychiatry and de-addiction center.)