Exams - how to cope with stress

Lack of confidence is the key to failure. Being unconfident, nervous or scared of testing is the best way to fail. Ironically, the fear of failing makes people fail. Confidence is not something with which you are born. Teachers, parents and society place so such pressure on young people to pass their tests; that unconfidence is inevitable. The anxiety that people experience makes thinking and concentration harder. People fail because they are not taught how to be tested, which is why tests are so common in school. And yet handling tests is just like handling fire, in that it can be made a lot easier if people are taught how to succeed in a test before they are given all of this practice.

It is the time limit that makes you the most nervous

It is not the test its self that causes the problem; it is most often the time limit. If somebody handed you a test and said, “hand it in whenever” there would be no problems with anxiety at all. Most people would probably relax right away. Sure, they may be a little nervous after handing it in, but being nervous after handing it in is far worse than spending all of your test time being nervous.

If you can come to terms with the fact that it is the time limit that bothers you the most, then you may be better able to cope with the stress of tests. If you could seriously convince yourself that the time limit does not exist, then it may be a lot easier for you.

Make a note of all of your test based fears and anxieties

Increasing your confidence can be done by firstly noting down all of your test anxieties and your fears. Detail a list of yourself doubts and worries, all of which, peak during a test. Don’t forget to note down the less obvious worries, such as your worries that your mind will go blank, or that time will suddenly go quickly, or that you are writing and answering too slow. Make a note of every single worry, including the silly ones such as how you may accidentally talk and be thrown out.

Examine your anxieties and fears and find ways to remove them

Look at each one and ask yourself why you feel that way. If you fail a test, is it the end of your future? If you are so sure it is, then look for alternatives to your plans. Find ones that excite you that you know you can fall back on if you fail your exams. It may not be very gratifying, but if you find alternate life paths that you would enjoy just as much then you will be surprised at how much pressure suddenly comes off.

If you are not going to pass the test to become a psychologist, then decide that if you fail you are going to be safari tour guide, a theme park ride tester, or better still you could decide to pick a higher paid job. Are the tests genuinely ones that you cannot take again? You can get student loans up and be accepted for college admissions until the day you retire. You could attend school solidly until you retire and become the most educated person on the planet.

It took me three goes to pass the bar

Ever heard that little sentence from you lawyers or on TV? It is because passing the bar is a bit tricky and it takes people a few tries. So, do not be all that worried about if you do live the nightmare and fail your exam. It may be a setback, and it may even mean spending more time in education, but all it is--is a setback.

Test anxiety is a real thing, so after you have noted down and resolved your worries, start practicing taking tests and seeking college guidance. Your primary fear will no doubt be the time limit; so keep practicing testing with a time limit. Do it for everything.

Get over the time limit problem

Take online tests and practice being timed. Remember that if you remove the thought of the timer, then 9 times out of 10, you will answer the questions quicker anyway. You also have to come to terms with the fact that if you are not going to answer all the questions in time. Worrying about the clock will not change that. If you know how many minutes are in the test and how many marks each answer is worth, then use the mark score to dictate how much time you spend on each question. If time runs out on one question, move onto the next.

The chances are you will have plenty of time at the end to go back and tinker with your answers. Above all, relax. You will be tested your whole life, so come to terms with it, now. Come to terms with the time limit issue, and you will find that most of your other stress and anxiety around tests will fade away.

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