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How to reduce anxiety and nervousness in exams

Updated on May 16, 2013

Almost every one who has gone through the examinations at various levels will agree that it is almost certain to get anxious before or during exams. But in certain cases the being anxious gets into a different plane to being nervous. The nervous state of mind start faltering and cracking up during the exam and the performance is much lower than what the child could have done in normal state of mind.

There are steps which have a long term impact on the stability of mood which include things like providing an environment where child gets more and more confident, strong inclination to faith systems, habit of living in present moment through mindfulness, sincere hard work etc.

However in order to prepare ourselves in ways where one is able to keep the anxiety under manageable levels before the exams, following may be considered.

Simulate the exam conditions

It will be a good idea to simulate exam conditions before hands. You can create a simulated exam which should become as close to the real exam as possible in terms of questions, time available etc. Taking such simulated exams frequently will reduce the exam fears.

Practicing Mindfulness- Living in present

The anxiety is invariably caused by mind's perception of a future which is threatening in nature. Generally the threat is just the idea of the mind. If we prepare systematically the mind perceives a lower level of threat and we are more relaxed whereas if we have not devoted adequate time for preparations the mind perceives a higher level of threat and we get into anxiety syndrome. Practicing mindfulness techniques which is aimed at living in present moment will drastically improve our exam temperament. The key to practicing Mindfulness is awareness of breath and awareness of thoughts in a non judgmental manner.

Thought Diary

It will be a good idea to note down the anxious thoughts one gets before the exams. The very act will reduce the anxiety to some level. This will also be able to see the nature of thoughts which are far from the truth. A person with anxiety syndrome will always feel nervousness before every exam and chances are that he or she has invariably passed the exam with good marks. So we need to derive confidence from the past successes.

A regular exercise regime during preparatory period

Physical exercise on a regular basis will generate favorable chemicals in brain which in turn will reduce the anxiety to some extent. A disciplined approach towards regular walks etc. will go a long way in reducing the anxiety.

Change the flavor of exam in the mind.

Exams are invariably perceived as something unfriendly and there is a sense of hostility towards it. It is seen as an instrument which may threat survival. With a bit of effort one can change the perception to exams to friendly phenomena from a hostile one. One can start feeling a sense of anticipation, a sense of eagerly awaiting it rather than wishing it away. Another change in feeling may be a sense of aggression towards exam with self talk like "What the hell! I will crack this bloody exam". Things like that.

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