Exam stress. Exciting events often bring stress to a greater or lesser extent. You can describe stress as a feeling of unrest and tension, which is caused by external influences. This influence is called the stressor; your exam can be such a stressor. Everyone out of stress in a different way; one is irritable and emotional, while the other suffers from abdominal pain and poor sleep.
Stress is sometimes difficult to recognize, because it often does not express itself in emotional complaints, but only in physical complaints.
Symptoms of exam stress
You feel tense, hungry and afraid to lose control and control of the situation. Often you are easily irritated in this situation, even if it concerns unimportant matters. It may be that thoughts come to mind such as “I will get a blackout later”, “I am probably not getting enough”, “My girlfriend has learned much better” or “How should I tell my parents that I have failed?” Stress can also be recognized by physical symptoms, such as trembling or sweating hands, headaches, red cheeks, heart palpitations, rashes, abdominal pain, nausea or sleep complaints.
How does exam stress arise?
You can see a feeling of stress as a reaction from your body that is preparing for a problem. Your body is getting ready to solve the problem and is very alert at that moment. You decide whether you experience this stress as positive or negative because you assess the situation yourself. Some people experience stress as negative and then feel rushed, tense or anxious.
For example, you may be afraid that you will not pass your exam or suddenly forget the subject matter. In the event of anxiety, the brain instructs the body to produce adrenaline. This substance causes your heart to pump faster and your lungs to work harder to provide energy to your muscles. As a result, you may suffer from trembling or sweating hands, headaches, red cheeks, heart palpitations, rashes, abdominal pain, nausea or sleep complaints.
Do you recognize this in yourself? That is annoying, but a normal phenomenon. During periods of stress you are more mentally and physically vulnerable; often you are also more susceptible to a cold during times of stress.
What can you expect with exam stress?
Stress can have a positive effect because your nerves, concentration, and urge to perform make you sharp and get good grades. If the anxiety about not performing well and the tension that goes with it is very high, then that is called fear of failure.
Fear of failure leads to less good performance. Sometimes it’s not easy, but the trick is to let you feel positively influenced by your sense of stress. Remember that tension makes you sharp and alert. And say yourself, the fact that you are taking this exam now means that you are ready for this?
When to the doctor?
A good number of young people are afraid of not meeting the expectations of themselves, their parents, their friends or their teachers. A number of them are so afraid of failure that they actually get bad grades. And because they get bad grades, they become extra uncertain again which prevents them from performing better. This is called a fear of failure.
With the fear of failure, stress does not provide healthy alertness, but it forms an obstacle. If you have fear of failure, then it is good to learn to actively deal with performance and expectations. Discuss your feelings and thoughts with trusted people in your area.
If you are seriously worried because your symptoms are a major obstacle to your daily activities, you can go to the doctor. He may then refer you to another care provider who specializes in the complaints you have.
What can you do about it yourself?
Everyone treats tension and stress differently. What the one experiences as very stressful, the other finds a pleasant work situation. And what the one experiences as a threat, the other sees as a challenge. In short; stress is a feeling, it is your experience and assessment of a certain situation. The good thing about this is that it makes it possible to actively do something with this feeling of stress. Under the following heading, you can read a number of tips on how to do an exciting situation as a final exam, which can make yourself more pleasant.
10 handy tips for exam stress
- Provide an overview of what you still have to do and then make a schedule.
- Provide relaxation If you have had an exam, it is good to recover from it, for example by exercising, listening to music or watching television.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes Everyone makes mistakes, so you can also make a few without immediately getting insufficient.
- Make sure you have slept in. Learning to spend the night often makes no sense; you better be well-rested so that you have a lot of energy to concentrate on your exam.
- Work goal-oriented It is often useful to first enter your name and exam number so that you do not forget that later. It may also be useful to first estimate how much time you will need and what you can best start with. Read the questions carefully and do not go hunting.
- Trade-in negative thoughts for positive thoughts Was your exam unexpectedly difficult yesterday? Then tomorrow’s might be better than expected.
- Talk to your parents, friends or classmates about how you experience the tension surrounding your exam; about your thoughts, fears, and expectations. If you keep it to yourself, it often provides an additional source of tension.
- Learn to recognize stress in yourself Are you hunted, tense or irritable? Do you have physical complaints? Try to recognize this and do something with it right away, for example by taking a break or doing something fun.
- Recognize physical complaints If you have a lot of problems with, for example, palpitations, abdominal pain or hyperventilation, it may help to breathe consciously from the abdomen. This is how you learn to control your breathing.
- Reward yourself If you have worked hard or if you think you have achieved a good grade. For example, buy ice cream after your exam, rent a movie or take a nice bath.
Source : Dr. JM Versloot (consultant)