Do you find it difficult to breathe easy during exams?
Do you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this”?
Does your heart race fast during exams?
If your answer is “Yes” to all the above questions, then you are facing exam anxiety.
Though most people feel anxious before and during an exam, however some people are more likely to suffer from exam anxiety than others, according to research. This increases when you are preparing for a national level exam like NEET or IIT-JEE.
What is exam anxiety?
Exam anxiety refers to experiencing a feeling of intense fear or panic before and/or during an assessment or exam. Sometimes, normal levels of stress may help you work efficiently, think faster and improve your performance. But, in case your anxiety becomes overwhelming, it might affect your performance drastically.
Due to this anxiety, you might find yourself in difficult situations, such as;
- Short temper and irritability
- Increased tendency to smoke or consume alcohol
- Poor appetite
- Increased snacking
Types of anxiety:
- Low level anxiety: Students who experience low level anxiety are likely to feel nervous about any upcoming examination, but still manage to concentrate on their preparation or be attentive to the questions asked in the assessment. In this situation, students don’t usually get intimidated with the idea of examination.
- High level anxiety: This type of anxiety brings out the worst in students under pressure. When exposed to a feared test situation, the students experiencing high level anxiety show an immediate reaction. They either avoid the situation by not showing up for the test or endure it with extreme feeling of terror.
Both low-level and high-level anxiety bring out different actions in different students, but tackling the anxiety effectively might help with exam performance. The big challenge here is to identify when the anxiety increases to a point where it starts to take over you and your cognitive abilities, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand.You can always take external help in this regard, from the teachers at your JEE coaching or your parents.
What are the causes for anxiety?
You should take some time out in order to identify the root cause of the problem. Once you know the cause, intervention becomes easier. Few of the most common reasons include:
- Being anxious always
- Poor exam preparation
- Bad experience in an earlier examination
- You are not feeling well or are undergoing a treatment
- Parental pressure
So how can you calm your nerves?
If you are able to identify high anxiety in yourself, there are different ways to help you manage it to not let it take over your performance in an examination. Depending on what triggers contributing to your anxiety, you can practice skills that you find helpful. Implementingvarious self-care strategies like having a good night’s sleep, better nutrition and diet, physical activities and rejuvenation schemes will help you find a way out of your anxiety.
Tips to cope with exam anxiety:
During exam preparation:
- Develop beneficial study habits and strategies: According to your abilities and preferences, cultivate habits that will benefit you in the long run. You can take help of your mentors at your classes for NEET/IIT JEE coaching.
- Effective time management: While keeping distractions away, adhere to your schedule and deal with procrastination, distractions and laziness.
- Following a proper schedule: Don’t get too overwhelmed when designing a schedule. Make one that is doable and take a step by step approach.
- External pressures: You need to get rid of thoughts linked topeer pressure, fear of failure, parental pressure or competitiveness, etc.
Before the exam:
- Confidently approaching the exam: You should use any strategy that enables you to conquer the exam. It could be logic, practice, group study, or notes preparation. Take the exam as an opportunity to showcase what you have learnt.
- Be prepared: Use a checklist to ensure that you have learnt your material thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test.
- Allow yourself plenty of time: Keeping calm has a lot to do with time. Make sure you do everything you need before the test and get to the location a bit early to avoid last minute panic.
- Avoid cramming just before Try: Last minute cramming does less benefit than it may seem. It might overwrite the things you’ve learnt and leave you in a confused state of mind.
- Get a good night’s sleep : Aim for atleast 7-8 hours of sound sleep the night before the examination. It will rejuvenate your mind and fill with positivity.
- Don’t skip food: Taking the exam on an empty stomach, may increase the level of stress you are already facing. Hence eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid taking any processed foods, junk foods or carbonated soft drinks.
- Keep yourself hydrated: It is advised to carry a water bottle with you in the exam hall, so that you don’t feel dehydrated. This will also come in handy to reduce any extra time taken to go out for having a glass of water.