Exams can create a feeling of pressure, worry, anxiety and sometimes, can also lead to panic attacks. Many a times, students find it difficult to cope up with exam stress and are unable to understand and fathom the burden they are going through. This stress can exacerbate and then cause anxiety and panic attacks among students, leading to them skipping exams and in severe cases, committing suicide. Typical reactions to exam stress can be emotional, behavioural or physiological.
Emotional reactions may include:
- Preoccupation with exams
- Fear of Failing
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling depressed
Students may also show behavioural reactions like:
- Withdrawing from social interactions.
- Neglecting Hygiene
- Increase in use of alcohol or other drugs
Besides emotional and behavioural reactions, students suffering from examination anxiety may also show some physiological tendencies like:
- Difficulty in Concentration
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Increased Heart rate
- Stomach Problems
- Somatic Complaints such as headache, neck ache, back ache etc.
Sleep and Appetite problems
To deal with examination stress and anxiety, students can use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mindfulness techniques, yoga, imagery and soothing music or any other activity which helps your mind to calm down the nerves. The students should also:
- Set study goals and reward themselves on accomplishing the goal.
- Exercise or take a walk to clear their thoughts.
- Eat well. Maintain optimal blood sugar levels to avoid highs and lows of energy.
- Drink lots of water. People often underestimate how much hydration helps.
- Take help from their family and friends. Make group study circles.
- Make sure they get adequate sleep as this considerably helps in keeping the mind fresh and preventing blank outs during exams.