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Almost everyone feels nervous before an exam. Butterflies in the stomach and worrying thoughts – ‘Will I be able to answer the questions?’ ‘Have I done enough revision?’ – are indications of exam nerves that are probably familiar to all students.
In fact, a certain amount of nervous tension probably helps us perform to the best of our ability, producing a rush of adrenaline that helps us to feel alert and focused. But too much anxiety can block thoughts, create a negative frame of mind, and lead to panic and potentially poor exam performance.
There are a number of things you can do to help manage exam anxiety and turn uncomfortable, panicky thoughts into more creative tension.
Here are some tips:
Here are some tried and tested remedies to the ‘I can't answer anything’ feeling and other worrying thoughts about exams.
When you get into the exam room and sit down:
Different techniques work for different people, so it's worth experimenting to find the ones that are right for you. Developing techniques for managing panic can take time, so it pays to keep practising.
Whichever of the distraction techniques has worked for you, finish by going through the refocusing exercise. It only takes 30 seconds or so, but may have a profound effect on your ability to believe in yourself and the task in hand.
Brookes students can see a doctor at the Medical Centre on the Headington Campus.
If you are not registered with the Medical Centre, you should make an appointment with your own doctor.