Exams often cause feelings of anxiety in students, particularly if they’re important. Small amounts of nervousness are completely normal. But if the anxiety is getting in the way of revision, motivation, or affecting your performance during the exam, its best to try to control it. Here are a few ways to prevent and control anxiety before tests:
It seems obvious, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be before the exam. If you struggle with revision, you can find different ways of memorising information. A few new methods you could try are Youtube revision videos, podcasts, writing notes, and making your own questions to answer (particularly for essay questions).
Practice Under Timed Conditions
This will give you a rough idea of how you’ll perform under harsh timed tests. The more practice you have in an exam environment, the less alienated you’ll feel during the real thing. Ideally, you should have anywhere above 10 minutes to check over your work thoroughly before handing in your paper. But don’t worry if this isn’t the case yet, speed develops over time. Being able to check your answers towards the end can also relieve post-exam stress!
Prepare in Every Other Way
Apart from revision-based strategies, you should also generally prepare for sitting still for a couple of hours.
Wearing comfortable clothes is always recommended – avoid wearing constricting/ itchy clothing as much as possible. You should also bring a water bottle (remember to take the label off!) and a snack if there are any breaks in between. Bring your own watch if possible, and remember to be aware of the time.
Although exam anxiety is stressful to deal with, it is very treatable. Dealing with it earlier can help to reduce any symptoms you feel during the exam, which can go on to help improve your performance. If you have particularly bad exam-anxiety or if no solutions are working, it may be worth going to see your GP for other options to treat your anxiety.