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Exam Nervousness and Anxiety

Many students are nervous about exams. A little nervousness is often an advantage, and it will actually help you perform better. Nervousness helps you to sharpen your senses and be mentally ready to perform. In other words, nervousness is often a natural, good, biological thing that can help you achieve more.

When nervousness becomes fear

However, some students experience how this positive nervousness can turn into anxiety, which is detrimental to your exam preparation and performance. This can be very stressful, and for some it can hinder the preparation for the exam or even the participation in the exam.

Signs of exam anxiety can be both physical and mental.

Typical symptoms are:

  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • hear palpitations
  • sweaty palms
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • sleeping difficulties
  • concentration difficulties
  • sadness

Mandy different things can cause exam anxiety, and there is no explanation as to why some think it is a breeze to take the exam, while others think it is terribly difficult.

Tips to handle exam anxiety

If you experience fear or anxiety in relation to exams, it is important to try to understand where it stems from. What is it that makes you fear the exam? Here is a short list of tips you can consider if you experience exam anxiety:

  • Confront your fear. Fear thrives in secret. Accept that fear is there, and decide to do something about it.
  • Be open about it. Do not be afraid to tell others about your exam anxiety. Talk to the student advisors or a good friend.
  • Imagine the exam situation. Think through what is going to happen in the exam. Imagine the room, you sitting there, presenting and talking to the examiners. What scenarios can take place? How can you deal with them?
  • Get enough sleep and rest. It is not a good idea to spend the last night before the exam on a last frantic reading. Make sure you are well rested.
  • Ask clarifying questions. In the exam situation, do not be afraid to ask questions or make the examiner re-phrase the questions.
  • Be well-prepared. The deeper the understanding you have of the course content, the better you remember it. Also, try to connect the new knowledge in the course with what you already know. This way, the knowledge will be integrated, and you will remember it better.

You can also DOWNLOAD THE EXAM STRESS APP, to help you deal with the exams

Get help with handling your exam anxiety

You are always welcome to contact the Study and Career Guidance if you experience troubles with exam nervousness or fear.

You can also contact the Student Counselling Service, who offer free professional help and treatment for university students. Read more on their website, or ask the student advisors.