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Preparing Students Mentally To Take Exams

Exam anxiety or fear as people call it is real and affects the performance of even the best of students who are well prepared for the exams. Performance or exam anxiety can sabotage exam abilities if care is not taken. School authorities should pay attention and take time to prepare their teachers to know how to mentally and physically prepare their students before and during exams.

Just as adults shiver when facing interview panels irrespective of how prepared they are, children shiver even more. Final year students about to sit for the BECE exams are made to believe that if they do not pass, they may not only get admission to their first choice schools but will lose their friends, have a shaky future and will be miserable. Although to some extent, these are true and students need to be told, such statements are enough to put fear into the students.

Students should be taught about the causes of anxiety and how it occurs in order to face it properly when they are confronted with it and more importantly, they should be taught to have a positive mindset and not go into the examination hall with the I –cannot-do-this mentally. Believe it or not, some students prepare to fail because all through their lives, their teachers have said they are below average or D students. This gets into the heads of the students and very few of them challenge themselves to do better. Even though the truth is they may be below average, they should be motivated to use the exam to show their worth and not get comfortable with the average student tag.

Students should know about anxiety and be able to identify it when it sets in:

  1. Exam anxiety is normal and everyone goes through it at a point. It’s okay to have it and admit it to an adult. Exam anxiety hits even the most experienced test-takers, at every level no matter the number of times they have taken tests.

  2. Exam anxiety cannot be conquered completely yet it be managed.

  3. The more mind tools you have to beat exam anxiety, the better you are to beat it and perform well.

  4. People who perform well all the time also suffer from anxiety during the test but still excel.

  5. Conquering exam anxiety is not about being perfect or being fear or anxiety – free. It’s about adjusting and managing your anxiety and channeling it into fueling your performances.

Students should also know that usually anxiety thrives where there is lack of preparedness. The more prepared you are, the better position you are in to beat it. Usually when people over-stress, they interpret it as proof that they are about to fail, embarrass themselves and let everyone down. This causes more worry. Rather, they should psyche up or be psyched up when these signs become visible to teachers.

These may help:

  1. Practice some few tests in the morning of the exam. This will warm-up and will help you begin to focus on the exam.

  2. Have some sort of pre-event routine that will prepare you mentally, emotionally and physically by not paying attention to the upcoming event as long as that works for you.

  3. Planning is key. You need to know the routine that works specifically for you. Experiment to find the one that meets your needs and stick to it.

  4. You should know what your needs are and find ways to focus on meeting them .It should be one that helps you focus, give you a positive outlook and energize you  mentally and physically to take the exams..

  5. Make your pre- event routine a ritual and practice it/them every time you are about to take an exam. Over time, this ritual will make you feel comfortable .It will be a “security blanket for your confidence”.

  6. Take a deep breath and try to feel relaxed. Cast your mind back to a time when you aced an examination excellently. Think about the zone you were in before taking that exam – were you emotions calm, were you relaxed, were you as prepared as you are now, was your motivation to succeed high or shaky? If you answer, yes, then you know what to do.

The school could also employ the services of a professional to deal with the anxieties of students if need be. Beyond that teacher can employ these and other techniques to make sure their students are academically, physically and emotionally prepared to take the upcoming exam and others.

ALL THE BEST

August 17, 2017

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