Stress and anxiety, can effect studying and exam performance.
Common statements include:
- “I knew the answer, but during the exam my mind shut down and I could not remember it”.
- “My heart was racing and I could not focus on the exam paper, resulting in me leaving out a key question.”
- “I felt nauseas and dizzy throughout the exam and had to leave early.”
- “I am finding it impossible to concentrate. I keep procrastinating and doing unessential things.”
- “I am so worried I will forget something that I over-prepare and get stuck on one topic and do not move on to another.”
- “I hardly sleep and stay up till all hours studying.”
Stress can affect all areas of preparation and exam performance to the extent that students who are calmer, may fare better than smarter students in the final analysis. Bright students can be forced to question their abilities. Parents and teachers may feel confused. Perfectionistic students do not want to admit they are not able to manage their stress adequately.
Neuropsychology explains that when you are anxious, your primitive brain takes over and fires – interfering with your smart brain’s abilities.
The key to managing your anxiety is to stop the primitive brain firing. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can teach you how to do this.
- Parents, teachers and students should all be educated about the deleterious effect stress and anxiety has on learning and exam performance. Share this information with others. Speak to your school to include it in their study guides.
- Students should be trained in stress management techniques early on – before symptoms appear. If your school will not introduce it, make sure that you obtain training privately. It is too important to neglect.
- Do not be fooled by high achievers, they too suffer from stress that needs to be managed.
- It is never too late. Even a few weeks before final exams, strategies can be learned that will assist the student.