Exams are often considered a ‘fear’ factor among children. Students of all age groups do undergo exam anxiety and have ‘exam phobia’ when it’s round the corner. Some do take it easy while some cannot. The extent of exam stress is too much that drives them to take extreme measures. The fear of exams is more before the exams causing them to underperform on that day. It’s worse when the students have older brothers or sisters who have performed well and they are expected to keep up to that standards.
Tips to Overcome Exam Fear and Test Anxiety:
The following mentioned are few ways for overcoming fear and to reduce anxiety.
1. Start revising early: Students who start revising their portion early find that they can manage to answer without any stress or exam pressure. The sooner you start the better. As practice makes a better understanding and recollection, students are often advised to revise early. It will avoid panic at the last moment. Preparing well ahead of exam will allow you to focus on difficult topics so that you allocate time for it also.
2. Your own timetable: As a student you are well aware of the subjects that you need to work more on. It’s not by the grades but by the length of material or depth of the contents that you need to know about. To prepare for it, you need to create your own timetable for all the 7 days of the week. The timetable should be realistic that you abide by it.
3. Chart out: You know the number of chapters and which one is difficult to prepare. Make a rough sketch of the units or chapters that you need to prepare. Then align those in sequence of priority against the days of the week or the timetable you have set. You can amend the timetable or modify to suit to your needs
4. Mix of subjects: While making timetable or charting out, its best to study one subject in the morning and other subject in evening. Studying the same subject will make you feel bored or mind dull. Take a mix of two subjects and try out. You will surely feel the urge to complete the topics that you intend to.
5. Target for the day: Without aim there is no way that you will achieve anything in life. Even fixing a target for the day is crucial. As you would have noted down the chapters or topics you need to revise, break down these chapters as against the days.
Example: Feb.13 –
9.00 to 12.00 : History- chapter 15,16
2.30 to 5.30 : English – chapter 5,6
6.00 to 8.00 : Geography – chapter 11
9.00 to 12.00 : Maths – chapter 12,13
So having a target for each day, you are sure to revise well before exam. Once you start making such charts you would be habituated to make charts for any assignments.
6. Allocate time for breaks: Making a timetable is not an easy task. While making, do make time for breaks in between. You might get up for your bath or using washroom, you need to wash your clothes, you need to clean the room, etc. All these can be considered as break. Then include your dinner, lunch, breakfast as well. Even listening to music at interval of 3 or 4 hours is not bad. Breaks bring back enthusiasm while studying.
7. Sleep well: Students often study without taking rest. Sleeping during the afternoons are often advisable to give rest to your brain and eyes. You would feel that you are fresh after that break of sleeping. Don’t try to be nocturnal. Students are advised to take minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep during night. You can then cope up with the study next day.
8. Taking Notes: Students who take short notes while studying find it useful while revising during the exam time. Notes can be in the form of brief one or bullet points. Some students write in pictured format denoted with different symbol to recollect during exams. Such notes come in handy. This can be followed when you find the subject to be difficult to study.
9. Write legibly: If you start your preparations early then you would have time for writing down neatly. Students often tend to think that making notes is just to copy paste activity. It is not so. The notes are to be written legible on what you have understood of the topic. Don’t scribble it out. You are going to refer for exam later on, so make sensible notes.
10. Using highlighters: Students often use to underline in the books to make note of important points. By using highlighters it will help student to know which important note to be remembered were. Using keywords is also useful to remember the importance of the topic that is being revised.
11. Headings and sub headings: While making notes, it is useful to separate the topics with heading and sub headings below it. It not only makes the points to be separated out but helps the student to remember what the main subjects under it were.
12. Using flow chart: Students can adapt the method of drawing flowchart to remember the various steps involved. They need to judge where they can take notes depicting flowcharts. Such flowcharts are quite easy to remember while revising. It is said that mind can remember anything that is in the form of pictures or flowcharts.
13. Organise your notes: Once you have started preparations with your subjects, try to organise separate files for each subject. Keeping separators for all your notes will be useful while revising them. It is imperative to mention chapter name at the top while page numbers at the bottom of each page so that you are not mixing them up or it doesn’t get misplaced. Arranging all test papers, essays, assignments related to a subject in one folder will be easier to revise when studying.
14. Decide when to study: If you are able to concentrate in the morning better than at night then allocate hard subjects in the morning. Or you house is quiet during morning, then you can allocate those subjects. If you are person who loves to study after evening hours then allocate the study time after that and keep easier subjects in the morning.
15. Ask for help: When you feel you need help with any subject or you feel stressed out ask your parents or friends or teachers for help. Or you feel you cannot schedule your study, ask your parents for guidance. If one of your parent is good at scheduling and guiding you then you are sure to get help all the way till exam.
16. Share with someone: Sometimes, no matter how much revised or how much you are thorough with your subjects the exam fear is still lingering on inside. It is better to share out your feelings with mentor or your parent. Explaining about the stress and exam tension will make you understand what the real cause is for it. After that, you would be sure to dissipate the fear which will not come up again.
17. Answer previous papers: Revising the topics is always not complete without answering previous year’s questions. Try to get previous years papers through peers or teachers or even internet. It helps to know where you stand and how much is your preparation. You are advised to answer those papers only after completing all the chapters. Answer them without referring your books and try to be true to yourself.
18. Don’t compare with your friends: You must understand that each one in the school or college are not same. Everyone has different ways to study and understand the subject. So even revising a subject is different for each one of you. Never make comparison on the subjects you have done with your friend. Some have the habit of calling their friend and ask how are they preparing and how much he/she has covered.
19. Talk it out: Students of any age group must be encouraged to talk it out to their mentors or parents. The parents need to spend some time with their child to know what is really disturbing their minds. By talking it out with them they are sure to ease out their fear. Also they should be encouraged to discuss everyday what they have done and what have they completed, whether they were able to complete their task and if not why. These small discussions at the end of the day will motivate them to work harder the next day.
20. Visualize positivity: Whenever you are preparing for exams visualize that you will pass the exam. Never allow the thought of failure to ruin your exam preparation. The mere thought about failure or fear about it invites stress to overcome you. During that period of stress you will not be able to complete your studies. Hence, feel that you will pass by all the work you have put through.
21. Physically active: Studying throughout the day is sure to cause you more anxiety of completing the portions. Taking time out to play games which you like is a stress buster. There are various options for such stress busters. Riding your bicycle for a short distance, going for a short walk, going to the gym, doing gardening, doing any other house chores are some sort of activities that will destress and refresh your mind.
22. Have balanced meal: Students often tend to skip a meal or breakfast during exam time. It’s a grave mistake that they make. Skipping doesn’t solve your problem. In fact skipping meals, is going to deprive your brain of vital nutrients. Hence, you need to take proper intake of proteins and carbohydrates. Intake of essential nutrients helps you to focus well.
23. Practise meditation: Inspite of all the work, if you still seem that you cannot overcome fear and anxiety, then try out meditation in the early morning. Meditation would bring your mind to focus. It would also remove unwanted thoughts from your mind. Ask for some guidance on facts about it. Or you could just squat on the floor, close your eyes and keep your face facing upwards. Your palms should be open kept on lap facing upwards. Perform this for 10 to 15 minutes in a day early morning.
24. Stretching: While a student is studying, they often sit for hours on their desk or chair. Getting up once in a while is advisable. Also stretching your muscles after 2 or 3 hours refreshes you. Your neck, your hands and legs needs a bit of stretch once in 3 hours. Or it would cause discomfort not allowing you to concentrate. This way you lose track and in due course of time feel dull.
25. Try for group study: Sometimes, peers or people of same thinking like to get together to study. You could try out this option to stay connected with your buddies. Group study helps one to analyse what is important or what you had overlooked. By staying focussed on the subject, revising with your friends could make you to help them or they help you to solve a problem that you hadn’t known.
As every student is aware that the exam dates are usually given ahead of time, it’s the responsibility of the student to prepare well in advance for the papers. It’s even better if they schedule a specific timetable to revise them and make notes. Making an attempt to revise during the days closer to exams will only cause panic and fear. If you still feel there is something bothering your mind not allowing you to study, seek help from your parents or teachers. They are the best counsellors. Last but not the least, staying positive about the exams is foremost factor for any student appearing for the exam. Saying to oneself that you will pass the exam will bring positive results.