July 4, 2022

How to Overcome Exam Anxiety

by Psych Times Staff

Everyone gets some nerves before an exam. But there are some of us that get so anxious that it ends up negatively affecting our performance. This is known as exam anxiety and it can be very debilitating. Fortunately, exam anxiety is something you can easily overcome. Whether you’re sitting a school exam or taking a driving test, below are some of the things you can do to prevent exam anxiety. 

Study early and study hard

Exam anxiety is often the result of feeling unprepared. By making sure that you study thoroughly, you may be able to reduce this anxiety. 

Try to avoid cramming in your revision the night before and instead start revising several weeks in advance. This gives you time to focus on areas where you may not feel confident and seek help if needed. 

Don’t just settle for ten minutes of revision here and there. You should be scheduling at least an hour of studying per day. For certain exams, you may want to take extra classes to help you strengthen your knowledge such as these NCLEX-RN review classes if you have your nursing exam coming up. 

Avoid studying too much

While it’s important to study hard, you don’t want to spend every waking moment thinking about your exams. Too much studying could increase your anxiety by placing too much importance on your exam. 

Take time out to enjoy some leisure time. It could even be worth putting some time into other goals to remind yourself that exams aren’t the be all and end all (in fact, in many cases, you have the chance to repeat exams). 

Be careful studying with friends

Some people are more motivated when studying with friends. You could also find that you’re able to quiz each other and help each other with problems.

Just be wary that certain friends could be a distractions if they are not focused. If a friend is struggling more than you, you may also find that you spend all your study time helping them rather than focusing on your needs. Certain friends may even have the opposite effect and make you feel unprepared by pointing out areas that you haven’t studied. All in all, friends could be the cure or cause of your exam anxiety – so make sure that you choose the right friends to study with. 

Practice mock exams

Mock exams can help you to prepare better for what may come. These should ideally be held within the same time constraints in a similar environment. When it comes to paper exams, you may be able to practise on papers from previous years. With things like driving exams, you may be able to ask your instructor to carry out a mock test. 

Explore different relaxation techniques

For times when you start to feel panicky, it could be worth learning a few relaxation techniques. Meditation is a great way of de-stressing and can be practised almost anywhere. There are apps that can help you with this. You could also consider trying calming herbal medicines. Just make sure to avoid medication that may cause you to be too drowsy. 

Get a good night’s sleep before the exam

A good night’s sleep is important for concentration and memory. It can also help to reduce stress. For this reason, you should avoid staying up late the night before studying. Get to bed at a reasonable time so that you get plenty of sleep. 


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