By Texas State SLAC
Is this you – or someone you know – as finals are approaching? During exams, do you…
- Feel like you “go blank”?
- Become frustrated?
- Find yourself thinking “I can’t do this” or “I’m stupid”?
- Feel your heart racing or find it difficult to breathe?
- Suddenly “know” the answers after turning in a test?
- Score much lower than on homework or papers?
Many students find their anxiety level at an all time high by the end of the semester. These pressures can come from opposite directions and vary according to your performance in each of your classes. You want to do as well on your final exam as you have during the year to get the good grade you have worked hard for – or – you have to do well on your final to pull up your grade because you have struggled through your coursework during the semester. Reacting to performance pressure, anxiety, and stress can challenge even the best students . . . but you can take control of anxiety and stress by “preparing to succeed.”
If you have ever gone skiing or snowboarding on difficult terrain, the pros will tell you to at least crest the top of a hill so the view to the bottom is not as scary. Start studying here and there . . . even in small amounts. Knowing that you have begun helps you stay in control!
Practice, practice, practice
Practicing is not only a good way to retain knowledge, but helps you build your comfort level with the typical final exam performance environment. Take a practice exam or two – you will get a feel for where you need to concentrate your studies. Confidence and familiarity are great anxiety reducers!
Learn to relax
Stress can make us fearful and even lead to irrational thinking. It is very important to make quiet time for yourself to control stress. Don’t just take a break – make a break. Get some fresh air, listen to music, go for a run or a swim, eat a decent meal . . . simple steps like these can help calm your nerves and keep you balanced and positive.
Adjust your focus
Anxiety and stress build up because we are worrying about the future. Keep your focus on the present: what is it you need to do now? Get rid of distractions, control negative thinking, organize and prioritize your plan of action, and move forward. You can do it.