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How to manage exam anxiety

Image #: 13966736 April 12th 2011- Honor roll student Jafari Rooks works in a small group in his classroom at Holy Names Catholic School in North Memphis. Many of the kids come from a difficult home life, so, students are encouraged to work as hard as they can while at school. Homework does not go home with the children because most often "we know it is not going to get done," said Madison Tracy, the schools principal. The Jubilee Schools now operate on a $30 million endowment, serving more than 1,400 mostly non-Catholic and poor students at eight schools (fundraising allowed the addition of two more). Unlike most private, faith- based schools, these schools would accept any students, regardless of test scores, previous academic or behavior records, or a family's ability to pay. Commercial Appeal /Landov
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Hey, are you worried about writing exams? Are you anxious? Yes, exam time triggers stress, reactions from feelings of irritability, to being unable to eat or sleep properly, feeling fearful or even panicky.

Dr Mazvita Machinga – Mental Health

Now,this is the time of the year, when teaching staff have already prepared you for exams, you now have your exam timetable, now you need to calm down, stay healthy and get on it. We know that exams are a crucial part of education and a source of stress for many students and their parents or guardians.

In many cases students experience crippling anxiety which ends up negatively impacting their performance. It is then important to avoid crippling anxiety from these pesky evaluations, it is important to approach exams with a clear mind and an understanding of how to deal with exam anxiety and stressful situations during this moment.

Is there anything that can be done with exam stress. Some schools of thoughts believe that in many cases, exam stress is all in the mind. What is needed at a larger part is mental discipline to succeed.

During exam time, too much stress will block or cloud your thoughts. So, whatever happens to you during this time stay positive in coping with stressful situations. Talk to someone that you trust. It is important that as students you do not create exam pressure that will stress you out so much that you cannot not focus on your exams.

How to manage exam anxiety
Sleepless nights, cramming and question spotting do not always work for the best, it probably may lead to panic and unnecessary nervousness. Instead of yielding in to crippling anxiety you need to do the following: prepare, organize, revise, understand and relax.

Make sure you are following the basics such as eating right during examinations, adequate sleep. Do not compromise on sleep. Another important factor is taking care of your eyes.  Examination time means a lot of reading, writing and strain. Make sure not to overexert or strain your eyes. The following are also important to consider.

Shorten, summarise, reduce material onto file cards or single sheets Develop mnemonic devices to memorise important information Keep all your notes at one place and keep all your notes together By cramming at the last minute, you will more than likely just confuse yourself

Use the time before the test to relax, catch your breath and get focused Read all the instructions carefully during exams Answer the easy questions first if you think you may be short on time. (This is also a great way to gain momentum!) Don’t waste all your time on a two-point questions when there are heavier weighted 10-point questions to tackle.

Talk about it with someone.  Almost everyone finds exams stressful, so you should know that you aren’t alone. Expressing your worries to a good friend, family member, a teacher or a counsellor will help. After the exam, it is important to relax. I do not urge you to dwell on the exam after it is over, better you concentrate on the next exam. I hope these tips will help you deal with the stress and help you sail through the exams. Good luck in your exams.