Techniques for overcoming Exam Anxiety and to boost Confidence

When you are young, there are no more stressful moments than during exams at school. This anxiety often starts the night before and lasts through the test itself. For some, this period is even longer, starting a few days before and not ending before the results are given out. Here are a few techniques that will help a student overcome exam anxiety and boost his confidence.

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What causes exam anxiety? The sensation that we are never quite ready for them. And in most cases, this is true. If we are lucky, the teacher will ask a question on a subject that we know by heart, but if we are not, it can all go wrong. Therefore, the best solution is to be ready for anything the teacher can throw our way. To do so, you need outside help. Private tutors are there to make sure that you master all the information that is provided to you. He or she will guide you through the teacher’s syllabus, so that when you sit down to respond to the questions on the exam, you won’t be worried anymore, but oozing with confidence.

Do not overstudy the Night Before the Exam

That is a common mistake most students make. They waited till the previous night in order to start studying for the exam they will take the next day. Not only will it not suffice, but they find themselves going to bed late, showing up at school tired instead of having a fresh mind. This will cause a lot of anxiety, as the person won’t be able to focus as they should. Rather than cramming all of your revisions into one night, it’s much better to create a study plan and to begin a couple of weeks before the exam to ensure you commit what you’ve learned to your long-term memory. Sleeping well before a test is one of the most important things that you can do to reduce your anxiety.

Don’t get Overwhelmed by the Number of Questions on the Test

When you sit down for an exam, most of the time, you do not know how many questions there will be and what they will be about. The worse mistake that you can make is to start looking at each of them, one by one, without responding. In such cases, if you find yourself facing many requests that you don’t have a response to, you will most probably start panicking right away, and won’t be able to concentrate anymore. This will only render the task at hand, even more difficult. Start with the first question on the paper, and worry about the rest as it comes along. If you can’t answer one question, move on to the next and return to it, only once you have gone through the whole thing once.

Eat Well before an Exam

The important word in this subtitle is “well,” which doesn’t mean “a lot.” Otherwise, you will feel heavy and lethargic. Make sure to get protein into your meal, whether it is breakfast or lunch. In the morning, add some fruits, and for lunch a good heap of vegetables. Try to avoid ingesting too many carbohydrates. Don’t drink too much water, coffee or other liquids, if you don’t want to be disturbed by your bladder the whole time.

Can Schools Combat Exam Anxiety In Teenagers?

In today’s modern climate, academic success all too often is solely measured by formal test results. The pressure is on schools to ensure their cohorts excel, and with a heavy emphasis on preventing dishonesty through exam proctoring and ever-stricter protocols, it’s no wonder that test anxiety has become an increasingly prevalent problem among teenagers. 

While test anxiety may not be a brand new phenomenon, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t lead to a host of performance issues which can impact severely on students’ outcomes. Mental health issues, non-completion of exams, poor attendance and feelings of panic are all associated with this challenging time in students’ lives. So, how can schools identify which students are likely to struggle most? And how can staff identify then respond to those students’ needs so support can be offered to those who need it?

Creating A Positive School Exam Culture

Evidence shows that it’s possible to create a positive school exam culture where the pressure involved in taking exams is recognized, managed, discussed and, ultimately, addressed. Teachers in such schools can support and help students through this challenging and difficult exam period by adopting a whole-school, holistic approach to better mental health.

The basis of strong academic performance relies on social, psychological and physical needs of students being met. When students have the right environment paired with plenty of exam practice and revision opportunities, they can achieve optimal performance.

Which Needs Must Be Met To Ensure Academic Success?

Students have varying needs which must be met if they are to achieve the desired academic outcome:

  • Physical health – ensuring adequate exercise, nutrition and sleep
  • Psychological health – ensuring confidence, positivity and relaxation about abilities and performance 
  • Social health – ensuring authentic contact with family and friends 
  • Psychological support – ensuring adequate help with anxiety and exam stress

How Can Schools Support Students In Managing Exam Anxiety?

There are three areas where schools can offer support to students from when it comes to managing their exam anxiety:

  • By teaching specific revision and examination techniques to increase students’ sense of competence. This can be achieved by holding skill-building interventions. 
  • By helping students to identify, challenge and share any negative thoughts and feelings about exams in a supportive setting.
  • By offering support to manage the symptoms of stress before, after and during exams through the teaching of relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

Promoting Positivity In the Classroom

While exams may be stressful, it’s important for students to recognize that they are an essential and inescapable part of their school career. As such, they need to find healthier ways to cope with the negative thoughts and feelings that can arise as a result. While schools are under increasing pressure to ensure that their pupils excel, they must also acknowledge their responsibility to their students to provide them with a positive exam culture and a supportive ethos within the classroom environment so that the worst cases of exam anxiety can be avoided. With the right training and the right approach, schools can help young people to not only cope in this challenging period of their lives but also to achieve the outcomes that they deserve.