Exam anxiety is brain chemistry
Prof DC Sharma
Annual exams are approaching. But even before the actual exams, candidates begin to worry unnecessarily and excessively. They not only fear what to prepare, but even apprehend a terrible evaluation. Such attitude originates out of their faulty lifestyle, impractical study schedule, and psychological fear. A skilful study management can be very helpful in this direction. It is a must to reduce exam anxiety among students. They need to know how to do well in the exams.
Take exams as an opportunity
To succeed well, an exam must be taken as an opportunity. It is truly an opportunity to show one’s best. Success in exam comes with open arms when the candidate approaches it with bubbling confidence. Confidence comes not only with hard work but with certain strategies like regular practice, visualisation, positive self talk, and by seeking encouraging remarks from teachers, friends and parents.
Expectation leads to anxiety
Exams anxiety actually results from expecting too much, but fearing to achieve that target. When one has not planned in advance, then how to click the exam? Studies have revealed that there is a link between dopamine and the reward circuitry. Dopamine cells sit deep within the brain, in the mid brain, and connecting there to neutrons. When a candidate has high expectancy, large doses of dopamine are released. But when the candidate fears that it is impossible to achieve that target, his level of dopamine falls making him tense, depressed and even anxious and pessimistic.
Are you going to appear in a test which is drawing near? Do you fear the odd might happen? Worry not! You need to be mentally prepared to do well in the exams. If you have not done your best, start learning the important material thoroughly well now. Organise the material in proper and comprehensive order well in time. Avoid thinking that you need to cram just before the exam day. Be relaxed all the time. Relaxation comes easily when you are thor-
oughly refreshed. That state of your physical fitness will help you to concentrate well and learn well.
Make your study room a comfortable place. There must be good lighting. There ought to be minimal distractions. It is always in your own interest if you keep company of those who are doing their best preparation. Keeping the company of time killers and careless students won’t help you any way. Do not ever try to cut your sleep short in order to learn more during the night. That will not help you refresh yourself thoroughly. And note it, never to miss your breakfast at any cost. Rather take a king’s breakfast. Those who go to take the exams empty stomach feel less focused on writing the exam.
Don't panic in examination hall
There three hours in the examination hall matter the most! When you take the question paper, don’t be emotional. Take a few deep breaths. Read the directions carefully. Manage well your test taking time. Sit in a position which virtually keeps you in a relaxed posture. It often happens that some candidates go blank when they take hold of the question paper. But that is just momentary. Read the questions again simply taking the exam to be easy now. The answers will start coming to your mind in a better form now. But you may again forget if you panic. Even when you have completed your paper, don’t rush to hand over your answer sheet. There is no reward if you finish first!
Release fear, take it easy
Some students lose their self control in the examination hall. Actually it all happens due to their worry and tension. There is no need to be tense and anxious. Just taking a few deep breaths will make you your normal self. Forget all sense of fear. Solve all questions one by one, with a peaceful mind, and relaxed attitude. Pat yourself on the back that you are doing well. That will release more doses of dopamine in your brain. And you are sure to do pretty well then. Never forget to revise what you have attempted. This will help you do much better than you did before. A slip of your pen which would have taken you downward can be corrected for your overall benefit and favour making you a grand success.
All it needs is a practice
All it needs is a practice to make you succeed well. Even small steps taken in time cannot only help you overcome so many troublesome obstacles, but will also change your brain chemistry leading you to success after success. You will yourself realise how the minor touches of improvement here and there can help you land in the pleasure land of success and tremendous victory! Prof Sharma is a Kangra-based psychologist and a noted career expert with more than 40 years’ experience. He can be contacted at email@example.com or (firstname.lastname@example.org)