Wednesday 19 December 2018

Tackling Exam Anxiety

Adam discusses techniques for limiting the effect of exam anxiety on your grades.
- Adam

Just over a year ago, I was in the midst of counselling and had received poor AS level results, which made me doubt whether I wanted to stay in sixth form. It is fair to say I was in a bit of a pickle. My motivation was at an all-time low after thinking I had done well in those summer exams.

It is extremely common for AS level results to not be quite as positive as you expect, particularly after making a big step up from GCSEs. I could have given up, or thrown the towel in. However, I had a clear aim after researching university courses: I found the exact course that suited me. I had one immediate problem though, which was how was I going to cope with my anxiety during my A-level exams.

However cliché it may sound, it is much better to start revising sooner rather than later. You may think that it stresses you out even more, but in the back of my mind, I was patting myself on the back thinking I had started revision before a lot of my friends at sixth form. That meant I could revise a little less intensely during all these examinations. 

Starting revision before some of my friends also gave me a competitive mindset that I did not have during my AS level. For me, that competitiveness in my mind took some of my anxiety away because revising quite a lot took away the focus on the anxiety itself. This made me feel a lot better. Combining this whilst going for runs during breaks really helped me. This is coming from me, the guy who thought that nothing could help my anxiety after receiving poor AS levels.

Despite the competitiveness, I felt I never went through my A-level exams alone, I refused to allow myself to do that again. Knowing that everyone is ‘in the same boat’ in your classes in terms of having to do these exams, makes you feel a lot better. Revising together in class can make a huge difference academically as well as mentally.

This may sound mad, but I treated my water bottle that I took into my exams like a friend or constant companion throughout the exams: my water bottle and I went through my exams together! Other than using the water bottle for that purpose, it was very good at keeping me hydrated, keeping my brain active and it kept me feeling well. It also prevented my stomach from rumbling, another anxiety that affects a lot of people during exams in silent exam halls.

If you also experience exam anxiety, and you do have coursework for a subject, it helps to put in a lot of effort to do your coursework to a high standard - it helps massively when doing your final exams.

With all these small changes, I made marginal gains that helped boost my exam grades massively. This meant I had met my conditions and therefore I got accepted into my university course. Anxiety can be really tough, but mitigating the effects of it that are in your control can make a significant difference.

Hello! My name is Adam. I study Journalism and Media Production (BA Hons) at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Being a keen blogger and having several experiences during my academic studies, I hope that I can help people along the way whilst enjoying writing for you.

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