Fear and stress before an exam or any public performance are absolutely normal. For example, the famous bluesman Buddy Guy in his youth was so nervous that he could only play with his back to the audience. Freddie Mercury said he was very nervous before his famous Queen concert in Wembley. There are many great examples of how people overcame their fear. And the fear is much more serious than the fear of exams. If they did it, you will too.
Scientists estimate that 95% of people are somehow affected by this phobia. But it’s one thing to be stressed during exams; that’s completely normal. So what if fear catches up with us long before the test? Stress breeds fear, and fear breeds stress. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by passing the exam. It is interesting that those who are not ready for the exam at all, worry the least because they know from the beginning that they will go to retake the exam.
A typical case: The teacher at the consultation before the exam finishes his speech:
– Well, that’s it, the exam is tomorrow at 9:00, you need to have a pen and paper with you. Any questions? A voice from the audience:
– And when is the retake? What makes us afraid?
First, uncertainty, and second, self-doubt. It’s like a system of equations with many unknowns: what question I get, what additional questions the teacher will ask, whether he will remember that I skipped classes, and so on. And it is important to know this to understand how to calm yourself down and relieve the excitement before the exam. Even the most prepared student can doubt themselves before an exam. In this case, stress and nervousness will not be helpful. You can know everything perfectly well, but fall into a deadlock and forget the basic things. To prevent this from happening, read how to overcome excitement before an exam.
How to overcome a fear of the exam
If you understand that you are very afraid of the exam, it is very well. If you understand that you need to do something about it, even better. Universal advice: imagine that you did not pass this unfortunate exam. As you can see, no one died, you can go for a retake and close the issue. Let’s break down the various reasons for fear of exams and answer the everlasting question “what to do?”
- Exaggerated expectations and shame. The case when a student is a perfectionist and believes that it is necessary at all costs to pass the exam perfectly and for the maximum score. The same happens when a student is afraid to do an assignment with mistakes and often has to buy a descriptive essay, for example. This is commendable, but when it becomes an obsession, it is better to hold back. The right thing to do is to give your best and remain calm whatever the outcome. The main thing you will know: your conscience is calm because you did everything you could.
- Fear of the teacher. Some teachers have been passed down through generations of legends, which every year are filled with new details. What to do? Remember that a teacher is a human being like everyone else, and communicating with a teacher as equals is the best way to feel confident.
- Fear of public speaking. There is a special name for this fear – glossophobia. You can overcome it only in practice – to train at home in front of a mirror, to read special literature, and to get out of your comfort zone.
The best way to prepare for an exam according to scientists
Scientists at Baylor University in the United States conducted an experiment and found out some interesting things. Those students who pass the exam most successfully are those who during the preparation not only read notes and memorize but also tell their roommate what they have read. So, some students took the exam without preparation in the form of retelling the material to their roommates, and the other students passed the exam after a similar rehearsal. It turned out that people from the second group immediately remembered a lot of small details right out of the ordinary during the exam. So rehearse the exam. And if you do not have a roommate, then tell the note to your reflection or an imaginary friend. There’s no one around who thinks you’re crazy and talking to yourself anyway.
Expert advice on preparing for the exam
Finally, some useful tips from the experts:
- Watch your diet. Useful foods that stimulate brain activity and have a positive effect on concentration and attention: eggs, cod, tuna, turmeric, curry, mint, bitter chocolate.
- Get enough sleep before the exam. The sleepless night before the exam will not be beneficial, in such a state it is much harder to concentrate, and it is much easier to make an upsetting mistake.
- Remember about the Mozart effect and instead of metalcore listen to classical music for once. This is not a joke, but a scientifically proven fact: while listening to the works of Mozart improves Spatio-temporal thinking, and not only in humans. Experimental rats go through the maze to Mozart much faster than to anything else.
The world does not change on whether we are afraid of something. Should we be scared of exams? Of course not. It’s worth preparing for exams!
We hope that our tips were useful to you and you will pass the exams with ease and full confidence in your abilities. Good luck!