Everyone experiences anxiety. It is characterised most commonly as a diffuse, unpleasant vague sense of apprehension, often accompanied by symptoms like headache, perspiration, palpitations, tightness in the chest, stomach discomfort and restlessness.

Whether an event is perceived as stressful depends on the nature of the event and on the person's resources, psychological defences and coping mechanisms. This involves the process by which a person perceives, thinks and reacts.

People very often feel anxious about a lot of things, though the intensity and the frequency may vary. One such very common kind of anxiety is Exam Anxiety.

Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. This is a type of performance anxiety, where most pressure is on how well they will do. All students are anxious at some point or the other. Some are more so than the others. They all deal with it differently. Anxiety can be facilitative or disruptive, i.e. it can work both positively as well as negatively.

It is positive when it works as a motivator, it gives you the ability to understand the situation better and makes you more aware of yourself and helps in self-growth. However, when anxiety affects exam performance it becomes a problem. It affects the functioning cognitively as well as behaviourally.

This anxiety can be dealt with effectively.

  • Use relaxation strategies – helps you to cope better, learn and recall. Strategies that can be used are deep breathing, guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Know yourself better – understand your skills, abilities and the way you function.
  • Review your past performances - to help you improve on your process.
  • Organise the material to be learned – prepare a timetable. Don't over cramp.
  • Concentrate! – focus through the learning process. Helps in better memorising and recalling.
  • Avoid all-nighters – sleep well before the exam. Could work in preventing blanking out.
  • Be well prepared – study thoroughly. Do not skip on study matter.
  • Maintain a diet – eat well before the examination and be well hydrated.
  • Be well equipped - remember to take all the required exam material needed.
  • Time management – time yourself well before and during the examination.
  • Don't study till the last minute – allow yourself to relax. Deep breathe.
  • Be confident! – perceive the examination positively and not as a stressor. Use affirmations. You can do this!
  • Avoid silly mistakes – read the question paper carefully along with the instructions. Allow yourself 10 minutes at the end of the paper to review the answers.
  • Manage difficulties – if you get stuck with an answer, Don't Panic! Skip the question and come back to it later.
  • Don't hurry! - do not rush yourself. Give yourself enough time for each answer.
  • Positive self-talk – helps you to remain calm before and through the examination.
  • Understand that some anxiety is good – don't get worried if you are anxious. Use it to your advantage.
  • Reward yourself – celebrate that you managed to effectively deal with the exam anxiety.