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What is Exam Anxiety and Can it Be Treated?

Even though you’ve prepared for the exam and studied hard when test day comes around, your mind goes blank, and you feel sick and overwhelmed. This is more common than you’d think. Approximately 16–20% of students suffer from a form of anxiety called “examination stress disorder” or just “exam anxiety”.

Test anxiety is a common occurrence before, during and even after exams. If this does not affect your academic performance, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it seriously affects your grades, it’s better to address it sooner rather than later.

If you incorporate good habits in your life, you can overcome your fear of exams and increase your performance without a doubt!

Here is the list of tips to help you with your fear of tests:

💡 Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is important for your health, and it’s also critical to your brain functioning. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night — but how much you actually need depends on a variety of factors (including age, gender and lifestyle). For example, teenagers need more sleep due to hormonal changes. If you find yourself struggling with falling asleep at night or staying asleep for long periods, it may be time for an adjustment in how much time you spend in bed each night.

If you have trouble getting enough quality sleep during the night, try these tips:

  • Make sure that there are no bright lights nearby if possible, this can affect melatonin levels which makes us feel sleepy sooner!
  • Set an alarm clock so that when it rings at certain times during the day (like 10pm), it helps remind us when we should go back into our beds since sometimes it’s hard to stop scrolling before sleep (we’ve all been there).
  • Don’t pull all-nighters. It’s okay sometimes, but try not to. It can destroy your sleep schedule for weeks

Also, don’t forget that napping is not bad! Take 10-20 minute naps if you’d like during the day when you feel the most overwhelmed.

💡 Eat Well

Eating well is one of the most important things you can do to overcome exam anxiety. A healthy diet and good nutrition can help your body feel more energized, reduce stress, and even improve concentration. In addition to eating the right foods, it’s also essential to make sure those meals are easy to make so that you can make them yourself, without the help of a parent. This can help you to manage your own nutrient intake. You can use apps like Cronometer to track your vitamins.

Here are some great sources of protein: meats like beef, chicken or turkey; fish like salmon or tuna; nuts such as almonds or walnuts (but not peanuts); eggs (in moderation). Here are some good carbohydrates: whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa; sweet potatoes; beans/lentils/pinto beans (all contain fibre which will help keep you full). If you need more tips, check out brain foods.

Read other ways how to maintain your mental health during an exam period.

💡 Study Effectively to Overcome Exam Anxiety

How to Overcome Exam Anxiety - Student Studying
How to Overcome Exam Anxiety – Student Studying
  • Study in a quiet place.
  • Take notes and underline important information, use the Pomodoro technique while taking notes.
  • Use active recalling, don’t just read and rewrite topics passively.
  • Use flashcards to memorize important facts or terms. Flashcards can be made with images, words or symbols representing each fact or term you want to learn. You can also use them to practice your memory by choosing a list of random things you want to remember and seeing if they will help you remember them later on! For other revision tips, read top revision methods in 2023.

💡 Use Practice Tests to Your Advantage

Practice tests are a great way to prepare for the big day. They can help you get used to the test layout and format, as well as how long it usually takes for each section of the exam (based on your specific subject area). You should start using practice tests once you have finished all your other study materials.

How Many Practice Tests Should You Do?

As with any other strategy, it depends on how much time you have available and what resources are available to you. If possible, do as many mock tests as possible. It can help desensitise you from exams and you won’t be worried anymore!

💡 Study With Your Friends

How to Overcome Exam Anxiety - Friends Studying Together
How to Overcome Exam Anxiety – Friends Studying Together

Studying with friends is generally very beneficial. If they know more than you, it will help them feel more confident and relaxed when they take their own exam. This can also be a great way for you to gauge how much knowledge about the subject matter has been covered by everyone around you. You can learn from others by assessing what exactly you are struggling with explaining.

When we teach someone, our natural tendency is often to worry about making mistakes in front of others—but remember that these mistakes may help you with your anxiety too. It’s better to make a mistake with friends than on an exam.

💡 Talk about your Exam Anxiety

If you’re feeling nervous, it’s natural to feel alone. But don’t let your feelings of anxiety overwhelm you. Talk about your fears with someone who cares about you and understands how difficult it can be to cope with exams.

Your friends may be able to help by sharing their own stories or giving advice on how to manage exam stress effectively. You could also talk about your anxieties with a teacher or school counsellor. They’ll know what may help you the best.

If these methods aren’t helpful enough, consider meeting with a psychologist or another professional tutor. You can always get your parent’s support and talk to friends as well. Bring your loved one with you to the exam, so that you know your support system is waiting for you outside.

Remember, you are more than your grades. In the same way, you don’t love your family and friends for their academic achievements, they don’t do either!

💡 Consider Additional Help to Overcome Exam Anxiety

People say, “fake it till you make it”—so even if you don’t feel completely confident walking in to take your exam, fake that confidence! Prepare as much as possible and walk in like a subject expert.

If you feel like your exam is a little too stressful and you can’t handle the pressure on your own, consider getting external help. There are many people who are willing to offer their support. Many experienced online tutors have available time on Edumentors.co.uk but we recommend finding someone from your dream university to provide you with more personalised support. They can teach you effective studying methods, help you reinforce your knowledge and eventually help you get the offer you want.

Remember that most of the time, we can overcome anxiety on our own by identifying the root problem and trying out different remedies. You can also try consulting a therapist to see how they might help you.

Share this article with someone you think is also going through the same as you and maybe even try some of the solutions mentioned above together with them!


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