Exam phobia isn’t an uncommon feeling. Many students experience it throughout their academic life. They go through school and college fearing exams and as a result, suffer from lifelong anxiety when faced with challenging circumstances. The mere thought of exams gives them sleepless nights and days filled with anxiety and panic.
Exam fear exists due to several reasons. Difficulty in studying, fear of certain subjects, expectations of parents and teachers, lack of confidence, and the inability to concentrate, all of which increase the incidence of anxiety and depression in students.
However, fear of exams can be overcome. It requires setting new habits and changing one’s attitude towards exams to feel less stressed and anxious. Let’s try to understand what examination phobia is, how to overcome it, and how to study without fear.
What is Exam Phobia?
Exam phobia is the fear of exams. It is an unexplained, excessive fear of a situation (examinations) that leads to avoidance of the situation. This excessive and irrational fear of exams leads to increased levels of anxiety in students and worsens without any proper help or guidance.
What Causes Exam Fear?
Exam fear is caused due to many reasons, such as
● Fear of faring badly in exams
● Fear of letting down parents and teachers
● Fear of certain subjects that are considered difficult
● Inability to remember or concentrate while studying
● Giving importance to grades and using those as an impression of self-esteem
● Negative self-talk before and during exams
● Setting a high bar for oneself
● Comparing oneself to others
Exam phobia often leads to poor academic performance, which increases anxiety and depression among students. It affects their overall physical and mental health and leads to lower self-esteem.
Students can overcome the fear of exams, but they need a lot of guidance, emotional support, and positive reinforcement from parents and teachers regularly. It’s with the help of their elders and a change in one’s thinking that students can get over the fear of exams.
How to Overcome Exam Phobia: 10 Useful Tips
1. Early Revision:
An early revision will help you complete studying for the exam before time. You will have ample time to revise every topic from the syllabus. This way you won’t miss out on any topics and will be well-prepared for your exams.
2. Make Your Timetable:
Every student has a different method of studying. So, it helps to make your timetable, as per your requirements and preferences. Take into consideration the amount of time you can sit in one place and concentrate without getting distracted. Set the timetable and study accordingly and you will notice your anxiety levels significantly lower.
3. Have a Plan Ready:
Chart a plan for preparing for your exams based on which subjects need more attention and which are the subjects you are thorough with. Create flashcards, flow charts, graphs, and pictures while revising, and then use these for last-minute revision before your exams.
4. Mix Subjects:
Give equal attention to all subjects. Allot a specific amount of time to revise every subject, however difficult or easy it may be. This way you will have revised all the subjects without missing out on any.
If you have any difficulty in any particular subject, then get your doubts cleared by your teachers or parents. Avoiding subjects that seem tough will only lead to fear of that particular exam and lead to poor performance in that paper.
5. Prepare Notes:
While studying a topic or revising a chapter, take down notes of important points, such as dates, events, people, incidents, etc. Use these while writing answers to make them rich and impressive.
6. Take Breaks:
When you create a timetable for your revision, make sure you allocate breaks in between. Studying for long hours is taxing for the mind and the body. It also leads to distractions and loss of focus.
Take a break every hour or two and spend that time doing something you enjoy, such as a hobby, like singing, dancing, painting, or just talking to your parents or friends. This refreshes the mind and improves your concentration and your energy levels.
7. Sleep Well:
A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. Make sure you get an undisturbed 8 hours of sleep every night. Do not burn the midnight oil! Instead, sleep early and wake up early so that you can sit down to study in the mornings with a fresh mind.
8. Maintain Your Handwriting:
A good handwriting improves your chances of scoring good marks. Students tend to ignore their writing as they try to finish their papers in time.
Solving mock tests before exams will give you enough writing practice and a chance to practice writing legibly. It will help you practice completing your exam in time by increasing your writing speed.
9. Avoid Comparing Your Performance With Others:
Always remember that every student is unique. Their capabilities differ and so will their performance in exams. Parents must remember to refrain from comparing their children with others, as there will always be a difference in the two.
Students should also avoid comparing their performance with that of their friends and focus on their work. This will reduce the anxiety among students and help them appear for their exams with a calm mind.
10. Include Headings and Subheadings:
While answering, make use of headings and subheadings. This helps the examiner understand what you have answered and how. Make small paragraphs instead of writing long ones. This makes your writing appear neater. It will leave a good impression on your examiner and increase your chances of scoring well.