Navigating Exam Anxiety: Techniques for Staying Calm and Focused

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Editorial Team

The exam is fast approaching, and all of a sudden, you feel tense and worried. Do you wonder why test anxiety appears only before an exam? Most people admit to having similar experiences when faced with an assessment, essay, or test. Exam anxiety is normal for students across different academic levels. But what causes it?

One of the significant causes of exam anxiety in students is negative experiences or outcomes in previous assessments. Like in any other life experience, the past may determine your perspective about something. Poor experiences with assessments, exams, or even essays may trigger a feeling of fear leading to anxiety. Lack of adequate preparation is another significant cause of anxiety exam.

Other causes include pressure to perform, negative thoughts, and poor self-care. For instance, lack of adequate sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise, among other lifestyle choices, may spur anxiety before exams. However, the good news is that there are numerous techniques to overcome the setback. Let’s look into a few of those strategies.

5 Effective Strategies for Coping with Exam Anxiety

Since stress has numerous negative outcomes for students during exams, you should have strategies to get rid of any triggers that would result in exam anxieties. Here are the 5 most effective tips to reduce anxiety before your exam.

  • Adequate preparation: Based on statistics, a significant number of learners who experience anxiety attacks during exams are ill-prepared for the exams. The surest way of getting around this is preparing adequately to ensure you clearly remember the concepts learned in the classroom. You should identify the studying techniques that work best for you to ensure that you adequately cover everything the exam covers. As an option, you can order an essay online by CustomWritings if you need professional writers help with your final papers.
  • Care for yourself: What most students don’t understand is that taking care of their bodies plays a central role in reducing exam anxiety. It is understandable that when an exam is near, we get busy and more often than not, we tend to ignore some essential routines like having adequate sleep, eating healthy, and exercising. It is these habits that ensure our physical, emotional, and mental health is at the optimum.  When your body is 100% healthy, your chances of experiencing anxiety during exams remain low.
  • Understand anxiety symptoms to manage them effectively: It is essential to understand exam anxiety symptoms to ensure you effectively manage them. Some of the effective tips for managing stress include relaxation approaches such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to help yourself calm down when you experience an anxiety attack. For optimal outcomes, it is important to keep practicing the techniques even when you aren’t overwhelmed to make the feeling natural.
  • Create networks with the right people: It is vital to connect with the right people, especially when studying for exams. Academic experts emphasize the importance of having positive relationships and group work in your school life. As a team, you easily navigate through complex concepts that could otherwise upset you, leading to anxiety. Having strong networks means you have people to talk to when you experience anxiety symptoms.
  • Adjust your thinking: Positive thinking is key when you want to beat exam anxiety. Use previous experience with exams to conquer negative emotions that could result in exam anxiety. One way you could do this is by reminding yourself that exam anxiety is a common challenge that you can easily conquer. Take inspiration from the accomplishments you have made and the hurdles you’ve overcome throughout your academic journey.

The Most Common Exam Anxiety Symptoms to Look Out For

When it comes to the exam season, it is wise to check the symptoms of final exam anxiety to ensure you will tackle the test in the best possible condition. The symptoms can be classified as follows;

  1. Physical symptoms

Although it might not be obvious, physical exam anxiety symptoms are easy to identify and include nausea, headache, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat, among others. If you are looking forward to sitting for an exam and experiencing similar symptoms, you should seek to reduce stress and improve your well-being. However, the symptoms aren’t specific to exam anxiety, so you might need a doctor’s opinion.

  1. Emotional symptoms

Most students who have experienced exam anxiety before writing their papers admit to feeling emotionally unstable, helpless, disappointed, and, more notably, having negative thoughts. If you have a negative experience with past exams, you should look out for these and other related symptoms since they might indicate the onset of exam anxiety. Discovering these symptoms before embarking on academic writing will allow you to reduce stress and deliver exceptionally high-quality work.

  1. Behavioral symptoms

You should also be aware of the cognitive symptoms that could hint at exam anxiety. Examples of such symptoms include poor concentration, negative thoughts, procrastination, and comparing yourself with others, leaving you feeling desperate and disappointed. If you notice any of these symptoms as you approach your exam, you might be experiencing anxiety.  

Techniques You Should Master to Stay Focused Studying for Exams

  • Create a plan: One of the most effective tips to remain focused when studying for exams is to write down a clear plan detailing what you should do at what time and how. You should take into consideration the actual exam dates to ensure your schedule takes everything into account.
  • Make your study environment calm: Another crucial thing that you could do to remain focused on studying for your exam is to ensure that your study environment is calm. For instance, if you want to study from home, ensure that your room is neat, your table organized, and have adequate space. Being in a calm environment helps you to clear your mind.
  • Take breaks: Sometimes, it isn’t about how much you read. If you need to increase your productivity, take regular breaks. Breaking allows you to manage big chunks of work by breaking them down into manageable activities. Your mind will remain focused when you take breaks, which allows you to remain engaged throughout.
  • Avoid distractions: Distractions will eat up your study time, meaning you want to achieve your goals for the session. Whether you are writing essays, or revising for your exams, ensure you avoid distractions of any kind. For instance, put your phone away or avoid using social media during the study time.

Take a Step and Conquer Exam Anxiety 

We must agree that nobody is immune to exam anxiety. There is a feeling of fear as we may not be sure of how we will perform. Understanding its causes is the initial stage of addressing stress that affects college students during exams. You can use the available techniques to reduce anxiety and improve your performance.