Exam Anxiety Testing and Assessment by Psychologists In London and Throughout the UK


As experts in the assessment of anxiety we assess and support students who need extra time for exams and additional support as a result of anxiety disorders including: Generalised Anxiety disorder; Social phobia; Separation Anxiety; Examination Anxiety; Illness Anxiety Disorder, Substance/Medication Induced Anxiety Disorder; Specific Phobias; Panic Disorder; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD); and Agraphobia.

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Exam Anxiety Symptoms



Students with high levels of test anxiety may avoid the situation by not showing up for the exam or panicking so much that they are unable to answer the questions effectively.“Test anxiety is a combination of physiological over-arousal, tension and somatic symptoms, along with worry, dread, fear of failure, and catastrophizing, that occur before or during test situations. It is a physiological condition in which people experience extreme stress, anxiety, and discomfort during and/or before taking a test. This anxiety creates significant barriers to learning and performance. Research suggests that high levels of emotional distress have a direct correlation to reduced academic performance and higher overall student drop-out rates. Test anxiety can have broader consequences, negatively affecting a student's social, emotional and behavioural development, as well as their feelings about themselves and school. Highly test-anxious students score about 12 percentile points below their low anxiety peers.”



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Symptoms of Test Anxiety Include:



  • Poor concentration, poor organisation and mind “going blank” or “freezing.”

  • Worry and dread.

  • Increased heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Hyperventilation

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Being short-tempered or irritable

  • Increased consumption coffee, alcohol or cigarettes

  • Nervousness manifested by butterflies in the stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, light-headedness, difficulty breathing fainting and dryness of mouth.

  • Low self-esteem, anger, depression, and feelings of hopelessness.


Cognitive test anxiety is classified under the DSM-5 as social phobia.


Anxiety-Effects



Exam Anxiety Questionnaire



  • Does your mind go blank in exams?

  • Do you have anxiety about failing your exams, even though you have revised thoroughly?

  • Do you feel under immense pressure and overwhelmed with exams?

  • Do you worry a lot about exams?


Find out more and complete an Exam Anxiety Questionnaire Here:





Exam Anxiety Tips



Many of the exam anxiety tips will need to be implemented well before the exam so that you are able to gain the full benefit of these exam anxiety management tips.



Anxiety Management Tip 1 ― Plan Your Revision Well in Advance



  • Start your revision when you’re most alert, this is likely to be in the early morning.

  • Allow more than enough time for revision.

  • Remember that there is often something more than you have planned for that will come up. You will, therefore, need to schedule additional time for this.

  • Break up your revision, so that you work for short periods of time.

  • Use a planner, diary or calendar to organise your revision.

  • The use of reminders, on your phone or tablet, should also help you.

  • Find a way of reorganising your notes, so that you can summarise them.

  • Many individuals, particularly those with dyslexia may find it helpful to audio record their notes, this allows them to revise while walking or in the gym.

  • Very important to make use of your tutors, particularly if you don’t understand something. They’re likely to see this as a positive rather than a negative.

  • Make use of online discussion forum; your tutors will notice your input on this will leave a positive impression. Additionally, it will reduce the amount of time you have to spend revising.

  • Try and make sure you find a group of friends to work with and share ideas. While your tutor will not want to see everybody submit the exact same answer, as this would be plagiarism, a discussion can help crystallise your thoughts and reduce the amount of revision time needed.

  • Find out exactly where the exam will take place at least two weeks in advance.

  • Many students find it helpful to practise doing past examination papers under timed examination conditions.

  • Workout the amount of time you will have to answer each exam question.

  • In some cases, it might be helpful to undertake practice exams in the room where the examination will take place if this is free.

  • Most importantly advise your educational institution if you have exam anxiety, as they may be able to put in place reasonable adjustments to reduce your anxiety.

  • Be prepared to obtain evidence from a psychologist and or your GP may help support your application for exam anxiety.



Anxiety Management Tip 2 ― Break up Your Day



  • Assuming you have planned your revision, you should have enough time to take breaks. Remember studying continuously will make you ineffective. Therefore, it is essential to have a break.

  • Exercise can help energise you and reduce your anxiety.

  • Meditation or yoga might be helpful for many.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness sessions during your breaks build a positive state of mind.



Anxiety Management Tip 3 ― Eat and Sleep Well



  • You need to sleep well to reduce anxiety.

  • Implement a regular sleeping pattern. You’re more likely to be tired if you have irregular sleeping patterns.

  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee, and energy drinks, drugs or other substances that are likely to cause anxiety.

  • Each little and often. It’s important to eat a balanced diet.



Anxiety Management Tip 4 ― The Night Before the Exam



  • Try and relax the night before the exam.

  • Check that you have everything ready for the exam and pack this in your bag.

  • Try and eat, even if this is something light.



Anxiety Management Tip 5 ― The Day of the Exam



  • Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the institution where the exam will be held. Build in extra time for traffic jams and other last-minute problems that might arise.

  • Many students find it helpful to not wait in the central area just outside the exam room, as this might cause anxiety.

  • Make sure you are comfortable and take a few deep breaths if this helps ease your tension.

  • Read each question carefully, and the instructions.

  • With a highlighter, if this helps you.

  • Try to answer questions which relate to the areas where you have done your best revision.

  • Try to plan each answer in advance.

  • Work out whether you would like to start with the easy or difficult question first.

  • The careful to manage your time.

  • If you feel yourself getting anxious think back to the positive messages that you have taught yourself during your cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness or relaxation.

  • If you feel too unwell to continue ask the examiner if you can have a short break.



Find out More About Exam Anxiety and Test Anxiety


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