Many students usually suffer from exam anxiety; in this article you will understand the meaning of this anxiety attack and the causes.
“Exam anxiety is a psychological condition in which a person experiences some form of distress just before, during or after an exam or test.” This anxiety causes the person to perform badly or interferes with normal studies. This form of anxiety really deserves attention because it is very common amongst student populations throughout the entire world.
The symptoms of exam anxiety are:
a) Emotional – Extreme feelings of helplessness, fear, anger, disappointment. In some cases uncontrollable crying or laughing.
b) Cognitive – “going blank” as soon as the question paper arrives, finding it very difficult to concentrate, racing thoughts, speaking ill of oneself, finding it difficult to organize ones thoughts and making comparisons of oneself with others.
c) Physical – Feelings of nausea, diarrhea, headaches, changes in the body’s temperature, sweating excessively, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, dry mouth and racing heart beat.
d) Behavioral – pacing back and forth, fidgeting, substance abuse
Exam anxiety can be caused by several reasons and some of these reasons include:
1) Bad experiences with exams or pop quizzes in the past may serve as the activator of this anxiety
2) Most students have experienced or are simply afraid of “blanking out” on an exam or test. The inability to perform in a test or exam can lead to “anticipatory anxiety”. The truth is worrying about how your anxiety might affect you is worse than anxiety itself. Because this anticipatory anxiety can build up as the exam approaches and it will interfere in the student’s ability to adequately prepare for the exam.
3) When a student fails to adequately prepare for an exam, this will definitely contribute to exam anxiety. Lack of proper time management, poor study skills and lack of proper organization can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Some students who are usually forced to cram for an exam at the last minute usually do not feel as confident as those that have been able to cover all their material through following a structured plan for studying.
4) The lack of self confidence, the fear of failure and other negative thought processes will also contribute to exam anxiety.
5) Most students feel pressured to perform well on exams, this pressure maybe a great motivator to perform better or it can be too extreme that it becomes totally irrational.
6) Studies have shown that exam anxiety may also have genetic component.
7) If a student sees his or self-esteem closely tied to the outcome of his or her academic work, the result can be pretty bad! In cases like these, the student may actually spend more of his or her time worrying about the exam than actually reading for it.
The sooner every student realizes that sitting for an exam is not a death sentence but a way to actually know how well you have learned, then exam anxiety will become history (no pun intended).