Examination stress is the stress due to tension and worry in facing exam taking scenarios. Even though it is common to feel stressed up with tests, exams, papers or presentations, when it distorts the ability to perform or achieve academic and learning objectives, then examination stress is a major problem. In other words, when the distress of examination stress becomes so excessive that it has the ability to hamper the performance of an exam, then it is also known as test anxiety.
Experiencing Examinations Stress
It is very common and normal for everyone to go through and experience examination stress. But what will indicate that you are experiencing examination stress; is there something that points towards it. As a matter of fact it might be due to the experience that you are worried about how you will score in your exam. Or you are experiencing difficulty in understanding what you are learning.
Even at times you feel that you are not ready for an examination or there is always a nagging doubt whether you had the time to study and prepare for examination especially when there is always a need to remember extensive information, data, statistics, principles, rules, concepts, explanation etc.
The bottom line is examination always presents an element of mystery and uncertainty and that sort of puts you in a dilemma especially when you need a particular result to move forward in your life or to get into a career that you always want in life. All this kind of makes you experience the stress of sitting for an examination and affects you to a large extent.
Symptoms of Examination Stress
Some signs of examinations stress are as follows: sick feelings or a fast heartbeat; difficult to study or mind going blank during the test; having trouble in decision making; most of the time feeling confused, moody, overwhelmed and extremely low; was not able to connect with friends; low motivation in doing anything especially enjoyable activities; having trouble in sleeping or struggling to wake up from bed; severe muscles tensions and chronic headaches; appetite loss or overeating or stomach upset and feeling sick; clammy hands, or butterflies feeling in stomach, fidgeting, biting nails and grinding teeth.
All these symptoms do interfere with your life, your relationship with people around you, and your life’s enjoyment, especially around the examination time.
Causes of Examination Stress
There are many causes of examination stress but the common reasons are due to inadequate learning, last minute preparation, high expectations, teachers and parents pressure, the need to score and proof of success, fear of failing the exam, competition anxiety with other, less prepared anxiety, self-induced pressure, working part time etc.
Tips and Tricks in Dealing with Examination Stress
In order to combat examination stress, you may want to implement these things like having a routine for eating, sleeping and studying, by getting a good night sleep, rewarding yourself for achieving study goals and keep focusing on your study without indulging much in other non productive activities, some exercise, eat a well-balanced diet and avoiding junk food, get some rest time with some relaxation activities and reduce the intake on energy drinks and drink a lot of water.
When you are getting ready to study, make sure you adopt good study habits such as finding a quiet place, setting up and declutter the study space, learn more about the exam, talk with teacher on the exam coverage, use mind maps, make plan and execute task for every study session, go for short breaks regularly, and ask for guidance and help when you are in need.
The night before you turn to bed, make sure you have everything ready and accounted for in your bag that you will be taking to the examination hall. Make sure you have pens, pencils, pencil colors, crayons, calculators, drinking water and your examination hall slips ready.
In the morning eat light high protein food and avoid carbohydrates. It is advisable to drink warm water and get ready to go to the place where you will be sitting for your examination. Always make sure you know how to go and plan it earlier. Always try to be on time or half an hour earlier. If you are going with public transportation, then make sure to have your travel card ready and always buffer time for delays.
Before entering the examination hall, make sure you pay a visit to the loo. Even though you do not feel like urinating, getting to a toilet kind of ensures your mind that you have already done that.
Leave your bag at the designated place and get to your seating and arrange your stationery and examination slip on the table. Practice some breathing exercises to allay your fear, anxiety and stress. Inhale and exhale deeply at the count of three. Repeat the exercise a few times to regulate your organs and your mind on what’s important.
Do not indulge in unnecessary talk, comments, or people. These will be unhelpful and give you bad vibes and increase your anxiety. Remain neutral and smile to everyone and keep on being positive and confident.
Once you receive the question paper, take time to relax and slow your breathing. Ready all the instructions carefully and then go through the whole examination paper. Do not rush or attempt to directly start to answer the question. Make sure to underline keywords so you are able to form the answers that will give you the best leverage in scoring in your examinations.
Plan the time that you are going to allocate for the questions or sections or parts and write it down on the question paper with extra time to check your answers in the end. Map out your answers by creating a skeleton. Answer the easiest questions first to motivate and move you forward, so you can answer the questions depending on the complexity.
After finishing your paper, return to complete unfinished questions or re-read your answers to make any necessary changes. Compile, staple, or tie your answer papers and relax. You have done the best and you have given the most energy for the paper. Leave the examination hall and do not indulge in discussing the question paper or answers with your friends. Condition your mind for the next examination paper.