Anxieties are pretty common among the student population throughout the globe. But out of the numerous types, if a student is asked to name a single that occurs the most, it would undoubtedly be test anxiety or the anxiety that appears before the exams. Test anxiety is a combination of various mental stresses which include tension, imaginary anticipation, and fear of failure, in combination with psychological stresses like insomnia and misbalance of biological chemicals in the body.
Each one of the students whether he or she is a topper in academics, a mediocre student or one who has more interest and talent in other fields apart from academics, experiences this type of anxiety before and during the exams. But, one thing that must be made crystal clear is that test anxiety obviously lessens our performances and makes no effort to increase our score. So, let us understand the causes of test anxiety and analyze the ways to tackle it.
Among the numerous causes of test anxiety, let us discuss the most prominent ones that trouble the major section of the students:
- Unpreparedness: This is one of the major causes of anxiety. It happens that a certain student might not grasp the subject properly due to some reasons. As the test day of the subject approaches, the student starts to suffer from anxiety owing to the fear of failure and in certain cases, this type of fear may also cause short-term insomnia.
- History of poor test results: This hampers the self-confidence pretty much. And it is a well-known fact that one can never give his or her 100 percent when he or she is not confident of himself or herself. The gradual degradation in self-confidence as the exam day approaches also brings in anxiety and the student might not perform as expected even though he has clear concepts about the topics.
- Afraid of failure: Humans have been bestowed with the thinking and analyzing capacity that makes us a superior being on the planet even though we lack physical strength as compared to many other creatures. But, we, as students, sometimes misuse the qualities for our own harm. We overthink our preparation and anticipate a result that we think will come, even though we don’t have the slightest idea about the difficulty level of the question paper! It is nothing but an add-on to the causes of test anxiety.
Ways to tackle test anxiety
- Banish the negative thoughts: Well, what do we do when you get dirt on your body? Obviously, we wash them with clean water. We need to do the same with our minds too. As there are no physical ways to wash our minds clean, we have to do it ourselves. As soon as negative and destructive thoughts come to our mind, we need to forcefully divert our attention in another direction or start doing another work to indulge our mind in, and we will eventually get rid of negative thoughts soon. Whenever we feel that we are pestered by such thoughts, we should resort to our hobbies the things we like to do – might be even listening to music or going for a short walk. Once we banish the negative thoughts, we are already a lot ahead in the process to minimize test anxiety.
- Self-Praising technique: We must learn to praise ourselves. This increases self-confidence and boosts it a whole new level. We must have felt that whenever someone praises us for our work, we feel a fresh surge of energy. Obviously, we will always not get a person or the other by our side to praise ourselves for our wok, so we need to do it ourselves. Self-talks also prove to be beneficial to boost our performance in the tests. The great boxer Muhammad Ali used this technique to boost his morale ahead of the matches and used to say “I’m the greatest”, to gain confidence.
- Meditation helps: It has been scientifically proven that meditation helps in curing mental illness and reduces mental stress. A study shows that those students who perform meditation on a regular basis are less likely to catch mental illness, stress, and anxiety. Doing even 10 minutes of meditation in the morning can help us achieve mental peace before, during and after the exams. Also, there are certain breathing techniques that can be followed to stay away from the test anxiety.
- Take Breaks: Taking a break while doing certain works can help in staying concentrated all the time during the work. As per the researchers, our concentration is full while doing a particular job only for about 40 minutes, with slight variation from person to person. Remember, when we lack concentration, our mind goes on to think on the abstract topics and eventually, the fear of exams will strike our mind after some time and we may fall prey to anxiety. During the breaks do something that you do while you are free, it may be listening to music, sketching, playing games and so on. This will refresh you up and make you ready for the next session of studies.