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How To Overcome Exam Anxiety: 10 Tips And Tricks

How To Overcome Exam Anxiety: 10 Tips And Tricks

Unlock the secrets behind the best test results possible

Author: Julian Parsons/Monday, February 24, 2020/Categories: Feature Writer Julian Parsons, Boggabri, Narrabri, Wee Waa, Walgett, Other News, Community

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You’ve studied well.

You know your stuff and you’re feeling confident heading into the exam.

Suddenly, your mind is racing and your heart beating out of your chest.

Sound familiar?

We have all been there. You prepare well but your mind goes blank the moment you set foot in the exam room.

This is what many call an exam anxiety attack.

It is commonly characterised by a pit in your stomach and sweaty palms. Unless you can relax on time, you could fail an exam you would otherwise pass.

With that in mind, learning to manage anxiety before and during your next exam can help you move towards your goals without being derailed.

What is ‘Exam Anxiety’?

Although it may be reasonable to be nervous ahead of an exam, some students find it hard to shake the nervousness off.

This often leads to:

  • difficulties concentrating
  • racing thoughts
  • fast heartbeat
  • nausea
  • headaches

No matter what level of exam, or value of exam, exam anxiety can make it almost impossible to perform derailing weeks or even months of hard work and preparation.

Some of the factors that contribute/cause test anxiety include: feeling you haven’t prepared well for the exam bad experiences in the past the fear of failure Almost everyone goes through all these.

How you handle anxiety, however, determines your performance. If you’re stressing about your next test, here are 10 tips and tricks to help you overcome exam anxiety for good.

kids completing exam

#1 - Prepare for The Exam

As obvious as it may sound, it would be advisable to prepare well for your exam, many days before the actual D-day.

Prepping well helps boost your confidence hence reducing the likelihood of anxiety sliding on. Be sure to seek help whenever faced by difficulty, and especially with difficult questions and concepts.

According to the hypnotherapy Canberra expert, Ilona Nichterlein, you should also reward yourself for sticking to your plan. She notes “a major mistake people make is pushing themselves too hard. Your mind will better retain knowledge, and stay fresh, if you take small breaks to celebrate your success. Go for a run, watch TV, or read a book. These mini-celebrations will keep your mind primed to absorb information.”

#2 - Get Enough Sleep

The worst mistake you can make when preparing for an exam is 'revising' through the night on the exam day.

Pulling an all-nighter will only intensify your impulses and nerves, something that could cost you in the exam room.

That said, experts recommend getting at least 9 hours of sleep per night, and especially during the exam week. If you feel you haven’t prepared adequately, you can then contact our on-demand tutors for help.

Melbourne beauticians Ink Cosmetica offer a simple tip to boost your confidence once you’ve woken on exam day. They explain “self-care is a gateway to self-confidence. Something as small as looking in the mirror and being happy with your hair or make-up can help alleviate nerves and instill a sense of confidence to start the day.”

#3 - Have A Nutritious Meal

You'll need a steady stream of nutrients while in the exam room and throughout the day.

A well-prepared nutritious breakfast will come in handy before the test. You should also consider packing energy-giving snacks to have later on during the day.

It would, however, be advisable to avoid processed foods and go for whole-organic foods instead to avoid a sugar crash.

#4 - Arrive Early

Arriving late at the examination room/site will only trigger nervousness and anxiety.

That said, it would be best to get to the examination room 15-30 minutes early and settle in.

This will give you a chance to adapt to the conditions and get past any early nerves.

#5 - Read Instructions Carefully

Don’t rush into answering questions or starting your essay.

Read the instructions carefully, understand them, then take your time to answer.

Nothing frustrates more than putting time and effort into answering a question, only to realise later on you approached it all wrong. Understand the subject and instructions first before tackling it.

#6 - Start Right Away

Staring at a blank answer sheet for too long can trigger an anxiety build-up.

One way to avoid this is by starting right away on questions you find easier to answer. These will help you calm down and boost your confidence as time goes by. No one said you should handle the questions from top to bottom either.

So be creative!

Go through the exam paper and identify questions you can answer right away, and start with them.

positive students after exam

#7 - Have A Positive Attitude

You'll need a morale-boosting mantra to be able to overcome anxiety.

One way to do this would be by bringing a picture or object that gives you happiness.

#8 - Mind the Time

You'll be required to clear all the questions within a specified period. While you shouldn’t rush, it wouldn't be wise to spend too much time on one question either.

Plan well to ensure you have enough time to handle all the other questions with ease.

Allocate each item just enough time to complete.

#9 - Stop Worrying About Other People

Anxiety may kick in if you start paying attention to other people in the room. It can be even worse if they are scribbling away and you aren’t.

Take your time to prepare for the questions and solve each question at your pace.

Don't rush to finish before everyone else.

exam with clock in the background

#10 - Focus on Positive Thoughts and Deep Breathing

Learn to keep calm by breathing deeply once in a while.

Have positive thoughts all through the exam time.

Take a minute or two of break whenever you feel your mind is clouded.

Remember, when you’ve studied hard and know you’ve prepared well, by the time exam day rolls around there’s nothing left to do - you’ve already done it all.

Tests are a normal part of learning and school life.

Understanding this will help you overcome anxiety and even boost your confidence as time goes by. With adequate preparation and positivity, you'll be able to conquer any exam that comes your way.

Do you know of any tips or tricks we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!


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