Examination or test taking anxiety is the unexplained fears and feelings that an individual experiences before and during examination which hinders such a person from performing well during the examination.
Signs and symptoms of Examination Anxiety
An individual experiencing examination anxiety may experience some or all of the following symptoms
⦁ Physical symptoms: these include headache, nausea, sweating (on the palm, foot, or all over the body), rapid breathing, dry mouth, etc.
⦁ Emotional Symptoms: excessive feeling of fear, anger, depression, feeling of helplessness, etc.
⦁ Behavioural Symptoms: fidgeting, substance abuse; such as chewing kolanuts and taking coffee, avoidance, quarrelling, etc.
⦁ Racing thoughts or what is generally referred to as ‘’going blank’’, difficulty in concentrating, negative self-talks, comparing oneself to others, difficulty in organizing one’s thoughts, etc.
Management Strategies for Examination Anxiety
There are a lot of things an individual can do to manage and reduce examination anxiety. Some of these include:
1. Learn to Relax: Relaxation goes a long way in helping an individual to reduce anxiety. There are a lot of relaxation techniques one can adopt in calming the nerves and thereby reducing the tension or anxiety. For example, sit up on a chair that is comfortable, take a deep or monitored breath for 5 seconds, hold for 2 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 7 minutes. Repeat that 8 times. Exercise your neck, your hands and your feet for at least 5 minutes and then begin to study. Even when you are in the examination hall and you feel tensed, try to relax, drop your pen or stop any activity you are doing at that moment and just close your eyes and relax, before you continue.
2. Be positive in your thinking: this will help you to psyche yourself up that you can succeed. Avoid statements that are detrimental to success.
3. Do not over-generalize your thought about you: Try to avoid the usage of statements like I always fail …, I have never passed…, etc.
4. Be prepared and study well for your examination: Anxiety always come from unpreparedness. When a student did not prepare adequately for an examination, he or she is bound to face anxiety owing to in adequate preparation.
5. Eat balanced diet; more of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and try as much as possible to avoid diets that contain too much sugar, fats and white flour pastries
6. Do not cram; rote learning is not good for you. Do not go to the examination hall hungry. Try to eat before you go for your examinations.
7. Remember to sleep well before your examinations.