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Whenever an exam is approaching, I begin to feel anxious, worried, I also feel fear that something will go wrong and of course it does go wrong, but not due to my lack of knowledge : it's that stress that prevents me from thinking clearly and logically. To sum it up, this is just ordinary panic.

Is there any way to reduce groundless fear of exams? Perhaps some self-control exercises or organizing a mock exam would help (I try to do the latter but maybe in a wrong way because it doesn't make the situation better).

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My boyfriend had this same problem. But when he succeeded at an interview, got a job and was making a solid progress there, his problem almost completely disappeared. Maybe something more or less similar (like contributing to forums on topics that you study, or studying together with your peers and telling them some of the topics and answering their questions) can work for you too. – superM Jun 4 '13 at 10:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

For immediate relief, check out my answer to How can I clear my head so I can keep studying?.

But, it sounds like you want a generic solution to overcoming test anxiety. I think a big part of this is confidence; you sound like you know the material, but you let worrying cloud your ability to think straight and recall the information.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Be confident in yourself.
  • Relax with deep breaths, short breaks, or small exercises and stretches.
  • Recall using mnemonic devices (doesn't work for everyone)
  • Don't rush. Take your time in studying. Start early enough that you do not have to stress about not having time to study material.

Some resources:

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Confidence is indeed a major issue when it comes to exams, and the stress can be quite debilitating. There is no set solution as you can well imagine, but the best way to increase your confidence is to complete mock exams (as you suggested) and exercises from a textbook (if you have one) or online exercises. With regards to the mock exam - if it is possible, try and get a few from your instructor.

Also, timetable some breaks in your study, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.

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As pointed out by other user. Confidence is mostly the problem. Sometimes what ever you study is not enough and that might deteriorate the confidence level. So what i can suggest is go for a short walk,every day, and try not to think of exams. Also Drink lots of water.

Dont create a mock test yourself. It never helps. Ask your friend to create one for you.

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Stop overthinking, don't think about the exam before. Now I only have a little bit of stress before doing something stresfull, because I don't think about every possible outcome, possible question. I am preparing with what I have to task, and I am doing what I can do with what I have.

More than less outcome is better than I think of. Try not to care that much, it is fun, don't be afraid to challenge yourself. Intelligent person shows best when she does not know exactly what to do, but can make through obstacle even not fully prepared.

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Fear is always in thought. Adapting your thoughts to the situation is no easy task. You have got an image or formed an opinion about exams. That is deeply entrenched in your thoughts. Just see the reality.

If you know the subject, you can write the exam easily - Why fear then? If you do not know the subject, you can't write properly - Find out the reason for failing to understand the subject before exam. Do not repeat the mistakes next time.

If the problem is not with the understanding of the subject, then you have unnecessary psychological impression in your mind about exams. May be you are worried about success or failure after the exam. TURN INTERNAL. Means, think about yourself on this.


Take more and more exams. Then your orientation towards exams will be changed. Hitherto you were panic about exams. When exams are more you may not look at it the same way as you did earlier. Your thoughts get changed. Thereby no fear or worry. Get to the core of the subject and face the exam boldly. THOUGHTS ALWAYS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Think properly. Be bold.

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You may be cramming that's why you feel anxious. If you have been studying and preparing diligently early on, then you would naturally be confident. The same applies in other situations such as presentations, job interviews, and meetings. Preparation is the key.

Now don't get me wrong, of course, all of us cram from time to time. If this is your case, then accept that situation and just relax. Being tense, last-minute, late night cramming, and over-thinking will make it worse! You may have learned something during the last minute effort, but you may forget it during the exam because of lack of sleep and stress.

In my case, I almost flunked my licensure exam because my mind blanked out while taking it. Looking back, I should have relaxed and chilled the day before instead of studying late at night.

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Cramming at the last moment is definitely a no-no. Maybe look over some stuff for a light refresher, but otherwise sleep long enough, eat well, take a walk in the sunshine, and do some fun things around exams. – Jan Doggen Jun 7 '13 at 13:38

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