Pre-exam stress can be overcome with certain exercises and advice
Pre-exam stress is a situation that causes many people to have lower final results. However, this discomfort can be overcome using certain exercises and expert advice.
Uncertainty dictates that the situation is serious, with which the person must come to grips. At that moment, the palms start sweating, heart palpitations, stuttering, “butterflies” in the stomach, heat in the ears and, most often, kneeling. Trembling is a desirable state-observed psychologically regardless of reactions. According to psychologists, stage fright raises human consciousness to a higher level necessary for people to respond to increased demands in a certain situation. However, in reality, it is not easy to draw the line between normal and desirable stage fright and pathological stage fright, because the exam is a challenge for one person and a source of stress for another, or something completely different. In some people, the stress is so pronounced that the person simply blocks himself during the exam and answering the questions of the examiner/professor. This stage fright is a social phobia based on the fear that the person will be stupid and funny or that the knowledge (or answers) will be less valued. Due to such fears, without objective reasons, even before the examination, a person begins to doubt the quality of answers and, indirectly, his own abilities, according to school psychologists.
For stage fright, inborn traits or a kind of biological sensitivity are significant. In this way, it is possible to identify overly sensitive babies even in the maternity ward – based on these individuals. These babies are later insecure in contact with unknown faces and have marked indicators of fear. Such children are less interested in participating in the exploration of new situations (once they grow up). They prefer to stick to old and familiar faces and situations.
The tightest environment significantly affects the creation of stage fright. It has been proven that mothers who worry a lot about their children create doubt in the children to become independent. Mothers, on the other hand, do not give their children enough instructions when dealing with simple life situations and cause confusion and fear due to misunderstanding. Children of such mothers (when solving school assignments or some problematic life situations) tend to give up and are less persistent and persistent.
Psychologists warn that parents or teachers who set children excessively high tasks cause fear in the possibility of achieving them. From this fear, children feel that they are less valuable and capable. That is why it is extremely important that parents and teachers encourage children with praise all the time while they are growing up, and that they enable the child to express their own personality and give confirmation to the children in what they are most successful in. This will empower the child to continue to cope in areas in which he is less able to cope or which are not the child’s intended areas of life. Punishment and criticism should never sound humiliating in front of others. Humiliation experienced once in front of a teacher and school friends can cause a permanent fear of public speaking.
Personal activity of the child/student is also necessary to overcome stage fright. The teaching should be mastered/learned well. If the nervousness is present despite good knowledge, then the child (and parent) should seek professional help without hesitation. A psychologist (or other expert) will help to overcome the fear of exams with a cognitive-behavioral approach in practice.
Every determined individual can to a certain extent help overcome his/her own fear.
The procedure is as follows: by self-observation of one’s own thoughts, feelings and accompanying bodily reactions, it is necessary to determine which thoughts cause fears. These are the most common: I will be stupid, I will be less valuable in society, I will be judged as incompetent by authorities. After these masterings, the individual should start to change all the way to a positive self-assessment.
Self-confidence is created gradually, initially by setting easy goals. The individual feels successful and self-satisfied by achieving these easy goals. After an individual gains a certain self-confidence, then that person will move on to the realization of higher goals (for example, calmness in moments when calmness is needed).
A person can compile a list of 10 possible situations, which should be ordered according to the level of fear they cause. The first carries an index of 1 (causes almost no fear) to the last with an index of 10 (causes the greatest degree of stress).
- Exercise should start relaxed (first by imagining your own personality in circumstances that cause fear/stress and by writing down the feelings that accompany those situations).
- The person then needs to experience that situation in reality. In this way, each level of fear is practiced until the point when fear/stress is reduced to a minimum, and then it is moved to the next stage of practice.
- During the entire procedure, the individual should pay attention to physical reactions – say psychologists. The body should not be in a defensive position (tightened and bent, with knees squeezed or crossed, or the person swinging restlessly left and right). Movements such as excessive hand waving, nose scratching or hair twisting should be controlled.
- It is recommended practice looking the interlocutor in the eyes. The interlocutor can initially be, for example, a partner (or younger sister or friend, or another family member).
- It is good to repeat words out loud and use expressions: I personally think, It seems to me, etc. a person can practice in front of a mirror. Maybe at first everything will be funny to you, but this is a way for a person to look at his own interior and the impression he leaves with public appearances.