School has started back and exams are right around the corner. Just mentioning them makes your palms sweat and your heart rate increase. But you don’t have to suffer from exam anxiety. This is a normal cause of stress. At some point in their life everyone fears exams. So why do your classmates look calm and collected on test day? Because they know a secret you’re about to learn. You don’t have to be controlled by exam anxiety. Learn instead to overcome it once and for all.
Why Do Exams Cause Stress?
Exams bring on different emotions for different people. Some students only experience a low anxiety that causes nervousness and discomfort while others experience extreme anxiety to the point they panic and may even miss class to avoid the feeling.
Exams cause stress for various reasons. They are used to measure who we are and whether or not we will succeed. Well-meaning family members may sometimes put unnecessary stress on the student as they encourage them towards success. If self-wroth is tied into a grade the thought of failing can become debilitating. Various institutions and careers require a certain level of competence measured by exams. It is normal to have increased anxiety at the thought of failing exams that can potentially determine our future.
With this much pressure, it’s no wonder your anxiety increases at the mere thought of an exam. But there are ways to overcome this anxiety once and for all.
How to Alleviate Exam Anxiety
Hire help. There is no shame in asking for help. Hire a personal tutor to help in the areas you are struggling. Use a service like Essay Geeks to decrease your workload as you prepare for the big exam. Find a local freelance researcher to help you collect data and summarize books on your reading list.
Be consistent as a student. Attend classes regularly and take good notes. Share and compare notes with classmates. Do your homework and ask questions of the teacher when you feel stuck. Keep your notes organized with everything you need for that class in one place. Hold on to past tests so you can review them throughout the year as you prepare for the final exam.
Don’t procrastinate. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that there is still plenty of time only to find yourself pulling an all-nighter before the big exam. Create a schedule leading up to the exam of how much time you should study every day and stick to it. Create a habit of daily reading over your class notes. Study a little every night. By adding on an extra ten to fifteen minutes of review to your nightly homework you will be better prepared on exam day.
Take care of yourself. Allow yourself to take small breaks while studying. Step away from the material occasionally to clear your head. What is it you enjoy and helps you relax? Be sure to work these activities into your schedule. Get plenty of sleep (especially the night before the exam) and make healthy eating choices. Fatty sugary foods will make you jittery and increase your anxiety. Learn what relaxes you. Meditation and breathing techniques can calm your mind and body when it begins to fill with anxiety.
Increase your confidence. By sticking to a study schedule and asking the teacher regularly for clarification you will have addressed any problem areas in the curriculum prior to exam day. Remind yourself that you know this material. Avoid negative people while studying and surround yourself with others that are being proactive as they prepare for exam day. Visualize passing the test. Remove as many outside stressors as possible the day of the test by eating a healthy breakfast, dressing comfortably, and arriving early.
Follow These Steps and You’ll be Anxiety Free
Exam anxiety is overrated. To best alleviate exam anxiety, you must prepare and approach test day with confidence. Your careful preparation through study and self-care leading up to the day will equip you with the skills necessary to walk into the classroom anxiety free.
Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.