Exam jitteriness and anxiety
Wendy Tao, B.Sc., Student Representative
How many of you have gotten exam anxiety before, during, or after an exam? I sure have experienced some symptoms of exam anxiety myself. Exam anxiety is a fairly common phenomenon from the students I have talked to at our school. You’re feeling a little nervous, the first two questions go fine and everything from question three on you are completely blanked out. The harder you are trying to remember what you know, the harder it becomes to remember the material you study so hard for.
Symptoms of anxiety can be classified into emotional, behavioural, physiological and/or cognitive. Emotional symptoms include feelings of fear, disappointment, anger, depression, or helplessness. Behavioural symptoms are fidgeting or pacing to substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviours. Physiological symptoms can be fast heartbeat, feelings of nausea, headaches, lightheadedness, sweating and other disruptions in bodily functions. Lastly, cognitive symptoms can include negative thinking about oneself, racing thoughts, loss of memory, and “blanking” out.
Some of the coping strategies for exam anxiety are: prepare and study early, eat and sleep well during the exam period, avoid studying the night before, deep breathing before, during, and after an exam, repeat positive, reassuring statements to oneself, take a short break from the exam situation, visualize oneself doing well, and aim to do your best. Of course, one can also support the adrenal gland with herbs such as avena sativa, melissa officinalis, centella asicatica, and vitamin C to prevent adrenal insufficiency. Exercising regularly will help to improve circulation and keep the blood flow to the brain. Supplementing with ginkgo biloba, rosmarinus officinalis, PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone), and omega-3 can be used to support memory and brain power. Last but not least, taking a few drops of the rescue remedy before an exam can also help to alleviate some of the symptoms of exam anxiety.