Exam anxiety, how to eliminate it

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Robert Maurer
@robertmaurer
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All of us, at one time or another, have had to face theexam anxiety, whether it was simple school tests, driving license exams or a selection test for a job. This anxiety comes in large part from the fact that we feel scrutinized, we know our abilities will be judged, and we want to get the highest score possible.

However, there are people who are assailed by such a level of anxiety that it prevents them from obtaining a good qualification, even when they have all the skills and information necessary to successfully pass the test.



Some people resort to psychiatric drugs or other pseudoscientific therapies to calm down. Others who know the human psyche better undergo a relaxation session but certainly there is an even simpler technique to overcome anxiety about the exams: write on a sheet of the sensations we are experiencing.

A study recently published in the journal Science and developed by the University of Chicago experimentally demonstrated this technique.

The researchers subjected a group of university students to two mathematical tests. The first was used as a control test to determine the basic commitment while in the second case the students were told that the results obtained would affect the school notes.

The interesting part was that the students were asked to write down their fears just ten minutes before taking the test. What was the result?

The students who wrote their concerns scored 5% better on the first test. However, students who simply took the exam under stress scored 12% worse. This not only confirms that fear and anxiety reduce our performance but that transcribing our mood allows us to control our fears. Because?


One of the possible explanations is that writing about our moods allows us to reflect on the causes of them and in this way take a certain distance from them. In this way we realize that many of our fears have no real foundation and so we are able to overcome them. Probably for this reason, when psychology did not yet exist, people were already in the habit of keeping a diary since they already knew very well the therapeutic power of writing.



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