You’ve been studying hard for a long time for your exams. But as soon as you enter the exam hall, your mind goes blank. Your palms begin to sweat and there’s an anxious, hollow feeling in your stomach. Has this ever happened to you?
If yes, then you must know that these are classic signs of test anxiety or exam anxiety. Of course, some amount of tension or stress is important for you to perform well and focus on the right path, but when that mild nervous feeling transfers into a full panic attack, it can hamper your exam performance, ultimately defeating the main purpose.
This makes it even more important for you to beware of the strategies to combat them so that you can make the best of your potential.
Level Supermind has a library of meditations and mind muscle workouts to reduce your anxiety and mainly, increase your brain performance. And you know what? Refer 5 friends of yours to get 7 days of premium free for every friend who joins Level Supermind. If you haven’t downloaded the app already, you can access it from here.
To get started, the most important thing to do is recognize its symptoms. Do you feel nervous, difficult to concentrate or are surrounded by racing thoughts? These are the classic symptoms of going through exam anxiety. Sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat are some other physical symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should understand that it is important to address them and take steps to reduce your anxiety
Developing a study plan is very important for effective exam preparation as it helps you stay organized. When you have a plan in place, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed by the amount of syllabus you need to get hold of. To do this, create a detailed schedule that clearly states the topics you need to study, the amount of time you’re required to dedicate to each topic, and when you plan to revise your notes. This will help you track your progress, ensuring you stay on track and helping you prioritize topics
Test anxiety is one of the major reasons that impacts your performance on the main day. The best way to get rid of it? Practice test taking strategies like deep breathing, visualization, and positive self-talk.
• Deep breathing helps you calm down your mind and approach the test in a relaxed manner.
• Visualization involves imagining yourself confidently answering questions and performing well in tests.
• Positive self- talk is one of the best ways to boost confidence before your exams. Saying positive affirmations like, "I am prepared for this test" or "I am capable of doing well” causes a mindset shift from negative and less confidence to positive and increased confidence
Exam anxiety majorly stems from self doubt. You may get thoughts like, “I’m not smart enough to pass this test.”
The best way to counter this? Be your own motivational coach and remind yourself of your past successes. For instance, when you feel like you can’t do well in your exams, remind yourself of previous experiences when you’ve actually got through your exams with flying colours.
Another way to do this? Reframe your negative thoughts to positive ones. For example, when you think, ‘I’m not smart enough to pass this test’, mould it into, ‘I’ve prepared my best and I’m capable enough to get through this easily.
With the huge amount of syllabus to cover, you often tend to either forget or refrain from eating food properly. Also, many times you end up eating junk food. You should remember to eat healthy food and drink plenty of water during your exams.
Additionally, you may be tilted towards consuming more coffee to stay alert during exams. However, it can lead to an increase in anxiety levels and make it difficult to concentrate. So, it’s best to replace it with things like herbal tea, fresh fruit juice, etc.
Regular exercise releases endorphins which are chemicals that reduce stress and release tension. Also, it increases blood flow to the brain which increases concentration.
On the day of your exam, be sure that you do exercise, be it as mild as stretching or a short walk to increase alertness before the exam. To ensure a good night's sleep, keep in mind to establish a consistent sleep routine, avoid caffeine, and create a comfortable sleeping environment with minimal distractions.
Even a slight banter can feel negative during exams. It’s best to study with friends who are in a similar situation and if anyone stresses you out, then it’s better to step away.
Additionally, it’s important to approach and talk to your friends and family about how you feel at the moment and about things outside of studies. It's quite natural to get caught up in the stress of exams and forget about things outside of studies. That makes it important to maintain a healthy balance between your academic and personal life for your well-being.
To avoid being stressed out on the day of the exam, here’s what you should do.
• Sleep well the night before.
• Have a nutritious breakfast.
• Reach the exam centre early.
• Remind yourself, “I can do this.”
• Read the directions carefully.
• Just start with what you know well.
• Don’t pay attention to what others are doing.
• Watch the clock.
• Focus on deep breathing and positive thoughts.
To make the most of your potential and perform well academically, it’s important to have clarity in your thoughts. Here are some meditations you can search for on Level Supermind app to be exam ready:
Exam series: This exam series is specially curated for the ones about to give their exams. Through the course of 6 different meditations, you’ll not only learn how to control your negative thoughts by connecting your body to your mind (body scan), visualizing succeeding in exams but also guide you to make a rough plan for your exam preparation using prioritization.
Breathwork for anxiety: Overcome those anxious thoughts and calm your mind through this meditation to give your best in exams with an open and clear mind.
Working on your test anxiety isn’t a one time fix. It’s a continuous process. Follow the tips given above and you’ll get the answer to how you should reduce anxiety before exams. So, counter that self doubt and enter the exam hall with a calm and clear mind by incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine.