Life is a crazy rollercoaster, and there are a lot of twists and turns. We ride this rollercoaster every day and unexpected encounter events. Exam fear or test anxiety is one of these events and can haunt us for life.
What is exam fear?
Exams are a way of testing students and assessing their knowledge of a particular subject. However, exams are the only right of passage in India. The Class 10 and 12 board exams and college exams take us one step further to adulthood and create different kinds of pressure on ourselves. During exams, not only do we get tested on our knowledge, but we also have to live up to the expectations of family, friends, and teachers. It’s not easy to go through alone, but there is an effective way to help us overcome exam fear.
Exam fear or phobia is something that students go through at least once in their lives, and it is usually due to immense pressure caused by the expectations of their parents, teachers, and even themselves. Read on to learn more.
Why do students experience exam fear?
According to experts in the field of psychology, there are a few specific reasons why students experience exam fear. They are:
Preparation: We need to prepare to face something to go the way we expect. The same goes for exams as well, and it could lead to several issues if we are ready and fully knowledgeable on the subject for our exam.
Pressure: Another issue about exam fear is the unnecessary pressure we are exposed to from our parents, teachers, and siblings to score high marks. Stress can sometimes fuel better results and help us thrive through exams, but too much of it could lead to exam phobia or test anxiety. It’s best to go easy on ourselves and work within our limitations.
Focusing too much on examinations: Focusing too much on an investigation may lead to regret and negative emotions about the whole ordeal. So giving too much importance to an exam could lead to exam fear or test anxiety.
Self-doubt: This is a big issue when performing well in exams. Many of us prepare wonderfully for the exams, but due to self-doubt, we convince ourselves that we won’t be able to perform well or that the exams won’t go well and so on, which could hinder achieving wellness.
Five effective ways to help students overcome exam fear
It is possible to overcome exam fear or phobia, just like any fear, requiring initiative. Here are five practical ways to help students overcome exam fear:
The importance of setting a study schedule:
Setting a schedule is just like making a blueprint for creating something incredible. When it comes to Indian students, there is always a tendency to compare ourselves to others in society, parents or teachers. So it is best to self-evaluate and set study schedules or routines to maximize our scores.
Making use of study aids and resources:
Sometimes it takes work to understand regular textbooks and words. It’s common for students to have trouble reading text, so it’s a good idea to use guides, online content, and teacher notes. These can broaden our understanding of the subject and help us immensely during examinations.
Addressing areas of weakness:
No one’s perfect, and accepting that fact will help us in the long run. When it comes to certain subjects, only some people will be comfortable studying them. Some might have trouble studying organic chemistry, computer science, and the toughest of all, maths!!
So, what do we do in this situation?
It’s best to understand our weaknesses, find the most straightforward content on complex topics and form a basic understanding. Simultaneously it’s good practice to focus on the issues we are comfortable with and build a strong foundation. When it comes to examinations, there are several study options; if we study smartly, we can easily score excellent marks.
When preparing for exams, it’s always good to prepare a few days or months in advance. Never start studying only the night before the exams; preparing early and relaxing the night before the exam is always best.
Our brains need a day or night to process all the information consumed; the next time we sit for an exam, all the answers will come rushing us.
It’s also a good idea to practice with mock tests to ensure we can finish the exam on time, maintain legible handwriting and become familiar with the exam format.
Confidence is not something we are born with but develops through several life decisions. When it comes to exams, there are several methods through which one can develop the confidence to write exams.
A positive attitude will keep our minds open and bodies relaxed, making concentrating easier throughout the exam.
Eat things we love during exams, which will keep us happy, relaxed, and confident about scoring well.
Avoid talking about studies; instead, it’s best to listen to music, watch funny movies and relax the night before the exam.
Incorporate breaks into our study schedules and reward ourselves for our efforts.
Exam fear or phobia affects each student, but overcoming it is vital for mental health. If not dealt with properly, it could lead to several physiological problems, and we don’t want that. So the best thing we can do is focus on ourselves, relax as much as possible, prepare correctly, and attempt the exams fully.
Exams are not something to fear but will lay the groundwork for our future life and career. We can gain experience tackling issues and embracing environmental changes with each hurdle we pass.
M. Agombar and D. Holley, “Overcoming student fear and loathing of exams : a collaborative project,” Investigations in university teaching and learning, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 102–108, 2010.
K. Evans, B. Yusuf, F. Roberts, and T. Hoyle, The big book of whole school wellbeing. London, England: SAGE Publications, 2021.
E. Petchauer, “Shall we overcome? Self-efficacy, teacher licensure exams, and African American preservice teachers,” New Educ., vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 171–190, 2016.