Examination is important part of our education system. Examination is a formal test to show your knowledge or ability in particular subject. Grade and marks given in examination show weather the candidate giving the exam is above average, average or below in a particular subject. Students may experience stress before examination because of many reasons – lack of preparation or understanding of subject, anxiety about grades, lacking of practice according to the pattern of exam, lack of information about how to present answer in exam. While a certain amount of stress is beneficial, too much stress causes individual to perform poorly in exam. Sometimes pressure can help us to keep focused and sometimes too much of pressure causes stress.
CAUSES OF EXAM STRESS
Examination stress occurs when student is not well prepared and faces pressure from family and school. Student starts feeling anxious when he or she realizes that it is not possible to cope with revision within given time limit. Students should study well in advance and prepare for exam. Rushed in, last minute study increases the anxiety level in students. Students who do not sleep properly before exam, may experience high level of stress in exam.
Many students prepare well for exams but the still they feel pressured because of high expectations of family members and teachers. If student is working for a particular academic goal or preparing to crack a competitive exam, students may perceive themselves in competition with others which may heighten their anxiety level. Sometimes pressure does not come from family and teacher, students may pressurize themselves. If student wants to perform very best in exam, fear of poor performance in exam may be the cause of stress or anxiety. Students pressurize themselves and spend too much time in thinking how difficult the exam is and worrying about outcome of test. This is a negative approach and increases the exam stress. Because of stress and anxiety, student lose focus on studies and this causes concentration problem.
Examination stress and anxiety attack causes feeling of confusion, lose of touch with friends, feeling moody, lack of motivation to do anything, trouble sleeping, tense muscles and headache, feeling sick, upset stomach, nail biting, teeth grinding. Negative thinking and negative approach is main cause of examination stress. Students want to do really well but have fear of failing, a high need to get a certain result because of pressure from circumstances, family, teacher or self, not able understand the subject which may be due to lack of interest in subject or unclear basic concepts, unnecessary feeling of competition with others.
HOW TO OVERCOME EXAMINATION STRESS
Positive approach and good study habits are helpful to overcome examination stress. Students should follow the rule – study while you study, play while you play. Find a quiet place to study without distractions, set up your study place which should be clean and properly managed. Find out as much as you can get about the pattern of exam, so that you can prepare well according to the pattern of exam. Making notes is helpful in improving the writing skills and understanding the subject. Make short notes for revision and use bright colors to learn important points. Make a plan for each study session and break it down into small tasks. Work on one task at a time. Take regular short breaks between study. If you have trouble in understanding any topic, discuss it with your teacher, friends, siblings and parents. Make your concepts clear about the subject.
Make timetable for daily routine and stick to that routine. While you study keep focused on study, do not use mobile phone so that friendship worries may not distract you. Avoid using junk food, do not use energy drink and drink a lot of water. Eat a well-balanced diet containing lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts which are good for brain and energy levels. Have a sound sleep in night, this will recharge your mind and help you to remember things better. Prevent yourself from taking large quantities of caffeine because caffeine causes insomnia. Take some time for rest and relaxation activities like breathing, meditation and listening to music. Give yourself a mini reward once you achieve a study goal, this may be watching favorite T.V. show, eating something very tasty, go for a walk. This is helpful in making study habit, creating interest in subject. This is helpful in making study habit, creating interest in subject.
Some tips for exam day to go smoothly are – Make a list of things required on exam day and organize them a night before the exam. Eat a light breakfast on exam day and this will help you in maintaining energy level and concentration, go to toilet before exam starts. If you feel worrying and anxious about exam spend some time for deep breathing. When you sit in examination room, take some time to slow breathing and relax. Read questions and instructions in exam paper carefully. Sometimes, students are well prepared and know the answers very well but still they are not able to perform up to the mark in exam because they do not read the instructions and questions in question paper carefully. Adrenaline and cortisol are main stress hormones. Adrenaline increase blood pressure and heart rate, cortisol increases the blood sugar level. Positive affirmation and positive attitude help to overcome examination stress and lowers the level of adrenaline and cortisol. So stay calm and be fully focused on goal.
Blog by- Dr. Anita Mishra
Asst. Prof., Department of Science