Exam Stress

Let’s be honest, exams are stressful. 

There is one major reason for this:

We feel that how we perform on one day of our lives, will dictate our entire future. We believe that everything rests on this one day.

Image: Ben Mullins

Why do we think this?

From the moment we enter education, we are guided towards our exams. After many years, we believe that our exams are the only key to our future financial independence and happiness.

Now let’s be clear – exams are important and they do open the doors to our next level of experience. But by the time they come along, we believe that if we don’t do well, our futures are in ruins.  This is not true. Try your best but remember that you have the rest of your life ahead of you to try again if they don’t go according to plan.

The pressure to do well causes us problems. Why?

What if I fail and my plans don’t happen?

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I disappoint everyone?

These are the classic thinking errors that trigger anxiety.

Catastophising [‘What If?’ thinking’]

Fear of Failure

Anxiety triggers the fight, flight, freeze response and logical thinking shuts down. That’s really unhelpful in an exam situation.

Only when we are calm can we perform at our best.

Watch this great little video explaining the effects of stress on tests and exams.