Exam fear results from stress caused by prospect of taking exams. Even though examinations have always been conducted as a type of assessment to judge people’s learning and aptitude towards certain subjects and things. Often some people find hard to cope with it. And become a victim of this age old process by developing an anxiety regarding the practice of examination.
But one need not to worry as this isn’t a thing that cannot be treated. The duration of being able to overcome this phobia may vary from person to person but yes, one can definitely work upon this with some changes in his/her behaviour and thoughts.
Understanding A Phobia
Phobias basically are irrational fears where the person affected loses the ability to differentiate between logical and illogical thinking and falls in a trap of a seemingly unending chain of thoughts and behaviours.
Not only this, the person facing this crisis starts generalizing his experience from one situation to a whole bunch of other situations which makes it even more difficult for the person to overcome.
The best, or rather I say the most scary part is that one need not to be physically put into a situation of phobia in order to experience it. Just simply imagining a situation similar or related to the phobia may start the unending chain of thoughts.
Phobias, be it of any kind, work more or less in a same fashion. Once experienced, the person exhibits symptoms of following kind when fear is triggered:
- Starts sweating
- Reports having dry mouth
- Turns red
- Experiences butterflies in stomach
- Have gastrointestinal troubles
- High blood pressure and pulse
- Loses the skill of adaptive cognitive functioning
The person somehow just want to be out of the entire situation to restore one’s normal body functioning. Though sometimes, especially when one has to deal with some important examination, running away doesn’t helps and one has to find ways to handle the situation appropriately.
The beauty of this phobia is that it doesn’t target any specific population and age group and may affect any person at any point of time. So, need not to worry and feel disheartened if you become a victim of it at any early or later stage in life. Whatever the age or examination, we always have some steps to deal with it and they are presented below.
Small yet Successful Steps to Beat the Bigger Threat: Examination Phobia
1)Replace Irrational Thoughts with Rational Ones
People suffering from phobia might think that they are the only ones affected by it and rest all around them have no such fears. This is not true and the reality is that there are many people who are suffering from similar or even more extreme phobias in their lives.
Also because of recurrent episodes of fear during examination people start believing that their fear is inevitable and they can never overcome it. Though the fact is the other way round, the moment one decides to fight with it, start rationalizing in such situations, shows self-confidence then this becomes just a small stress of their life which they can easily overcome.
2) Stop Generalizing and Start Differentiating:
Generalizing comes into play when one develops a habit of interpreting similar outcomes in different situations. Like for example, when on one particular examination you were not able to control your anxiety levels and landed in a bad performance then it so happens that the next time when you are being put into similar situations, you are most likely to feel that this time too the experience would be the same as the last time and hence you stop realizing that it’s a different situation on a different day.
Remember one thing, as no two persons are alike; the same way all the days are not the same and things and experiences do change in different situations.
To fight this, practice the technique of differentiating between one situation to the other, so that even if you fail one time you are able to cope well the other time because of your past learning.
3) Work on the Triggers at Home:
There are many people who have difficulty appearing in the exams despite of knowing answers to all the questions. This happens when the examination hall, the presence of invigilator, the talks of other students makes you feel disturbed and send thoughts to your brain as if you have forgotten all that you prepared and learnt.
In situations of these kinds it’s better to note the triggers, that you feel makes you uncomfortable in the examination hall. After listing down the triggers one can work on overcoming them, by conducting mock tests at home in situations similar to the ones that makes you anxious in the examination hall. You can also join some test series that will help you practice more on how to fight your anxiety issues, also this would help you prepare better for the final examination.
4) Practice Relaxation Techniques:
Though many people don’t take this very seriously but those who do, realize that it works wonderfully well in situations of phobias and anxiety. In this step one can try simple techniques like meditation, and breathing exercises to control one’s emotions and fears.
Meditation when clubbed with the technique of auto-suggestion works more effectively wherein the person has to sit in a comfortable meditation posture and then keeping the mind stable and aware one has to give auto-suggestions to the mind that, “My examination fear is fading away, I am able to deal well with the examination.”
This is one such statement, you can also form your own customized statement and work accordingly. You can either make the auto-suggestion in your mind or can do it loudly depending on your convenience for 21 counts as suggested. This is something that you have to practice before the examination.
- If you feel that it’s more harder for you to cope during the examination then you can try the breathing exercises wherein you have to deeply inhale from your nose, then hold the breathe inside for 10 seconds and later do slow exhalation from mouth. Practice this 3-5 times during the examination and you will find your anxiety fading away in just a span of few seconds.
5) Be Prepared to face the Consequences:
If examination phobia is something that is affecting you because of lack of preparedness for the examination then the first obvious thing is to prepare well so that you don’t let the primary trigger at the first step to even take birth during your examination.
The second best thing is to take responsibility for your own action and to learn from such devastating experience. There is no need to ponder more on why you didn’t prepare well, rather just take it as a learning and move on, but moving on doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put any effort later on.
Moving on will only be helpful if you, yourself avoid getting back into such situations by being more prepared for the next examination. That will require a lot of motivation, and dedication but will definitely fetch you good results and help you overcome your bigger threat i.e. Examination Phobia.