It is not unusual for very capable students to feel that all their knowledge has suddenly deserted them and they are left with literally nothing to write – help, I’ve drawn a blank!
A simple unexpected question, the absence of an expected question or even the wording of a question can be enough to raise a student's blood pressure, increase their breathing and send them into a tail spin. The student's anxiety can skyrocket and their body can go into a fight, flight or freeze mode.
It is normal for students to feel nerves and anxiety before an exam. If we believe the stakes are high then we are naturally going to approach an exam apprenhensively. Given that a lot of hard work leads up to sitting the state exams, the day of the exam itself can feel quite overwhelming. This can affect a student's concentration and invite unwelcome feelings of panic and fear. Obviously, these sensations and best avoided. So what can be done to stop this physical response?
You need to relax, which is not an easy thing to do in an exam, but here are some tips to help you achieve a state of calm and regain your composure.
Five Tips to Help You to Stay Calm in the Exam
- Take your time: Make sure to take the time to read through the exam paper fully and mark which questions you are going to answer, both mandatory and optional. This part of the exam is about understanding and familiarising yourself with the questions asked, so that you can plan how you are going to answer them. Make sure you do not rush into writing straight away! It is worth taking a few minutes to process the exam paper before launching into your first question.
- Focus on your breath: Shallow breathing heightens anxiety and leads to panic. Shallow breathing does not allow enough oxygen to the brain, so you need to slow your breathing right down. Take deep breaths. Place your hand on your stomach and slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep these deep breaths going until you have slowed your breathing right down and regain control of your breath.
- Sip water: When your breathing is under control, slowly sip water. Don’t gulp. Just a few sips will give you a simple action to focus on and help to get you back in control.
- Tune into your senses: Become aware of what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Tuning into your senses will get you grounded again. In this exercise you are attempting to keep the focus on your body and remove the focus from your thoughts.
- All you can do is your best: Remember that no matter what happens on the examination day, as long as you make your best effort and answer the questions posed to the best of your ability, then you can be proud of what you have done.
Note: Throughout the written examinations period (5th to 25th June 2019), State Examinations Commission staff members will be on hand to deal with queries from 8.30am to 9.00pm on examination days and from 9.30am to 1.00pm at weekends. The phone number for all enquiries is 090 6442700
The CareersPortal Team