• Calvin Tan

Exam Anxiety Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments |

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

It is very common to feel anxious or stressed when there is an exam just round the corner. A little anxiety can be helpful in spurring you to do your best. However, it is when the nervousness becomes so overwhelming that it affects performance during an exam or preparation prior to an exam, it is known as exam anxiety.

What is Exam Anxiety?

Exam Anxiety is an emotional and mental state during which people feel impaired before and during exams. There is this crippling fear and nervousness that spreads through the body, reinforcing itself, and causing further anxiety. In worse case scenarios, this can cause panic attacks, that totally stops the person in the midst of an activity.

Exam Anxiety is considered to be a type Performance Anxiety, where the focus on the outcome becomes so intense, that fear and worry takes over, and actual performance is affected negatively.

Very often, it is people who care a lot about grades that tend to suffer from Exam Anxiety. They are likely to have studied way more than their peers, spent countless hours, sleepless night to prepare for the exams. This however do not translate into better grades on the actual day of the exam because the anxiety rears its ugly head, the mind can freeze up. Some people may feel nauseous, some might feel dizzy, hyperventilating, or simply unable to recall anything for the exam.

Symptoms of Exam Anxiety

There are a range of symptoms that people feel for exam-anxiety, from healthy levels of feeling motivated and energized to unhealthy levels of extreme panic attacks.

Physical Symptoms

Common symptoms can be heart palpitations, breaking out in cold sweat, trembling, breathlessness, feeling of on the verge of death, frequent visit to the toilet, naseau and more. In some case, student attending the exams can actually faint, due to the activation of the vagus nerve, or fall sick such as running a fever/

Overcoming Exam Anxiety

Here are some simple strategies that can help you alleviate the symptoms that is bothering you during a bout of Exam Anxiety.

Stop focusing on grades. Don’t enter the exam hall with a precise grade in mind that you have to attain, otherwise you would be deemed unworthy. Focus on the process of answering the questions according to what you know will lead you to the grades that you deserve. Enjoy moments of silence. Allow yourself to clear your mind and be in the present. That means being aware of your 5 senses, rather than be in your mind, recollecting the textbook content over and over.

Always get sufficient rest the night before. If possible take a full day of rest the day before the exam. Avoid cramping information at the last minute that serves to confuse rather than improve the situation. Nothing beats a day to just chill and relax so that you are mentally and physically recharged.

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