Fear of taking exams: what fear is and why it’s not just about it – Let’s figure out how to cope with anxiety before exams and what to do if you’re afraid to take them
The end of the school year is near, there are final papers, exams, and admission tests in high schools ahead. How to learn to perform effectively if just the thought of the exam starts to make you sick? A strong fear of taking exams or tests is a common reaction that frustrates the lives of many high school students. We learned from experts how to get along with their fear and distinguish between gratuitous anxiety and reasonable anxiety, as well as what are the ways to strengthen the nervous system during the preparation period.
Is it Normal to be Afraid of Exams?
Fear of taking exams is an absolutely normal feeling in a situation of the unknown, for example, when a person writes an exam paper and does not know what result he will get. It is especially exciting to go to this test for the first time because passing an exam is a special skill that needs to be developed. And if you don’t use write my essay service, or aren’t confident in your level of preparation, you’re likely to feel increased anxiety.
However, exams do not scare all people. Your attitude towards them depends on your learning experience, individual mental characteristics, and social environment. An exam can be perceived positively if the school presents it as something important and useful, as an opportunity to test your knowledge. In this case, with the support of those around him/her, the child can safely tolerate even his/her very first exam.
Some people are more anxious and worried than others. They are afraid not only of tests but also of any shocks that change their way of life. The most anxious will be those students who feel external pressure (from parents, school) and are afraid of not meeting the expectations of others. For people with a high threshold of anxiety, the result of the exam does not depend on knowledge, so they often write tests and quizzes unpredictably: sometimes they get an A, and at other times a D. Often this problem passes with experience. In addition, you can help yourself adapt to the format of the exam if you pay attention to the peculiarities of your emotional background.
The Importance of Habit
In many ways, performance tests bring so much anxiety and make people of all ages nervous precisely because the person taking them is unfamiliar with the procedure. Any experience, positive or negative, is helpful in relieving anxiety. For example, the more tests and credits in school, the easier it will be for a teenager to pass the exam. In this connection, it is desirable not to miss opportunities to practice in a safe environment where you do not risk anything. The mock exams, which take place in all schools, writing tests at home, as well as participation in all kinds of academic contests, will bring benefits.
How Fear Affects Thinking Activity
In a situation of great stress, a person lacks time and resources to make informed decisions, so in such a moment we often behave as we used to. When faced with a threat, the human psyche chooses one of three strategies of behavior: run, fight or freeze, so sometimes fear can have a negative impact on the thought processes, paralyzing a person. Those who are used to “freeze” or “runaway” often go into a freeze at an exam and forget everything they knew out of fear. Some, on the contrary, begin to “fight,” that is, mobilize all the resources of their brain. For them, fear becomes the motivation to do their best.
Whatever your usual pattern of behavior, don’t despair. It’s hard to say that “fighting” is better than “running away.” A student’s success doesn’t depend on it. It is much more important to understand your psyche and be able to adapt to its peculiarities. Some people need time to get up to speed on an exam, while others are better off trying to make the most of the first hour, taking advantage of the surge of energy.
Why are we Afraid to take Exams?
The main reason that schoolchildren worry about is the feeling that a lot in their life depends on the results of the exam. However, this fear is not always justified. To understand the reasons for their anxiety, it is important to understand if it is authentic. Often, students are nervous because they are expected to do too well or because they realize they didn’t prepare well enough. Whether your fear is justified can be understood by honestly answering the questions: Did you prepare for the exam? What results did you have during your preparation? First of all, you need to objectively assess your knowledge – for this, it is best to do mock tests.
If your test results are weak, then fear of taking exams or tests signals a problem that needs to be solved. There is only one way to overcome such fear: competently build your preparation for the exam in the remaining time. Psychological anxiety (unreasonable fear of exams) can be overcome by a psychologist and independent work on cognitive attitudes, as well as lifestyle changes.
You can minimize the fear of exams if you build your preparation so that you can be more confident when it comes time to test your knowledge. To do this you need to:
- Study not only in classes (at school, with a tutor), but also at home on your own. It is important to do all your homework regularly;
- Make a preparation plan. Write down all the topics that you need to master and divide them by the number of days left until the exams. You can do the same with exercises and tests;
- Determine your interim deadlines. This will help make your preparation more balanced and help you memorize the material better;
- Keep track of timing. During exam assignments at home, get used to time limits. This is especially handy to do with a timer. Remember that on the exam it is more important to have time to do all the assignments than to do some of them perfectly.
What to do on Exam Day
Overcoming stress takes up a lot of resources, and the exam will also require you to make a serious intellectual effort. It is better to prepare for this event the day before to support yourself. Before any important test, it is necessary to get a good night’s sleep, so you should finish preparing in advance. It is also worth thinking about comfortable clothes and packing all your things before going to bed. Don’t forget to bring water and anything else you are allowed to take to the exam, according to the list. If you are very nervous in the morning or the night before, take some time to walk briskly – physical activity reduces anxiety.
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