Fear is defined as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.”
Examination on the other hand is defined as “a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill.”
Fear of exams could be due to one of the following reasons:
1. Fear of scoring low/failing
2. Fear of not doing well in comparison with others
3. Fear of loosing a career opportunity or a higher studies opportunity
4. Fear of letting down family expectations
5. Fear of not understanding a subject to its core
6. Fear of being under prepared
Indeed, exams are an integral part of life and play a significant role in assessing one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. However, the fear and anxiety associated with exams can be overwhelming and may impact performance.
It’s important to acknowledge that exams can be stressful, but it’s equally essential to manage that stress and anxiety to perform well. One way to do this is by treating every exam as a learning opportunity and focusing on improving one’s understanding of the subject matter rather than just scoring well.
Another important factor is to prepare well in advance, which includes studying regularly, taking breaks, and ensuring adequate sleep and nutrition. This not only helps in retaining information but also reduces stress levels.
Lastly, setting realistic expectations and avoiding comparisons with others can also help manage exam-related stress. Every individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to focus on personal growth and improvement rather than external validation.
These are some tips for overcoming fear:
1. Fear of scoring low/failing: It’s natural to fear failure, but it’s important to remember that failing or scoring low does not define your worth or limit your future opportunities. Seeking help from a trusted adult or mentor can provide valuable guidance and support to overcome this fear and navigate through challenges.
2. Fear of not doing well in comparison with others: Comparing oneself to others is a common source of anxiety and stress. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has their unique strengths and weaknesses, and comparing oneself to others is not a fair or accurate measure of one’s abilities. Focusing on personal growth and progress, rather than external validation, can help overcome this fear and build self-confidence.
3. Fear of loosing a career opportunity or a higher studies opportunity: Prepare for the worst-case scenario: While it’s important to stay positive, it’s also important to prepare for the possibility that you may not get the opportunity. Have a backup plan in place, and remember that there are always other opportunities out there.
4. Fear of letting down family expectations: It’s extremely important to have a healthy balance between meeting family expectations and pursuing your own goals and aspirations. By communicating openly, setting realistic expectations, and focusing on your own goals, you can manage your fear of letting down family expectations and achieve success on your own terms. Don’t let the expectations of others distract you from your own goals and aspirations. It’s important to pursue what makes you happy and fulfilled, even if it doesn’t align with your family’s expectations.
5. Fear of not understanding a subject to its core: Remember that understanding a subject to its core takes time and effort. What you can do is – (a)break down the subject into smaller, manageable parts, (b)take your time to read, study and practice well, (c) don’t be scared to ask questions, (d) embrace your mistakes- it’s okay to make mistakes, (e) if you’re struggling with the subject, seek help from a tutor or mentor.
6. Fear of being under prepared: Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice, the more prepared you’ll feel. Take practice exams, or do mock test. This will help you feel more confident and reduce anxiety. It’s also important to be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and to not be perfect. Remember that being underprepared is a common fear, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can overcome it.
Facing and overcoming fears can be challenging but is essential for personal growth and development. With the right mindset and support, anyone can overcome their fears and achieve their goals.
In conclusion, exams are a part of life, and managing exam-related stress and anxiety is crucial to perform well. With the right mindset and preparation, exams can become a learning opportunity and a stepping stone towards achieving one’s goal.
Author : Anukruti Gaikwad
Assistant Language Teacher, Interac Inc.
Speaking Examiner, Cambridge KET and PET.