Exam anxiety – fear of tests

You have prepared for the test in every way and way you feel ready and well versed in the material being studied.

Now that you are sitting alert on the day of the exam, upon receiving the exam page you feel that the pressure is taking over you.

You quickly go over the questions asked on the exam and feel that all the knowledge in the material is gone and that the “black in the eye” blackout feeling has taken its place, accompanied by dry mouth, rapid pulse, paralyzing pressure and a desire to escape the test.

Exam anxiety exists in 15% of the population (youth and adults). People who suffer from test anxiety feel that they can not realize their potential, in terms of tests / exams in schools, universities, tests for admission to work, screening and adjustment tests, etc.

Exam anxiety is an anxiety that feeds itself in circles. Anxiety creates a negative cycle of impairment in academic achievement – increasing anxiety and so on. This test anxiety can affect, the self-image and the belief of the anxious person in his ability to successfully meet the academic threshold requirements.

What is exam anxiety

Exam anxiety is in fact “achievement anxiety” in which the person experiences physical and mental feelings of stress in situations where he has to prove to himself and others “what results he is capable of achieving”.
In test anxiety there is no difference between the sexes in the frequency of the phenomenon, and it does not depend on the level of academic achievement and exists at all ends – from students who have difficulty in a particular field or students with various learning disabilities, to outstanding students who master the material and express it during class. The exams.

Who might suffer?

According to research information most people who suffer from exam anxiety are people for whom it is very important to succeed and achieve. Sometimes, they are described as perfectionists, they find it difficult to deal with frustrations and it is important for them, to please others (family members, spouses, colleagues).
Exam anxiety is typical of bureau exams – the phenomenon of exam anxiety in adulthood can be seen among graduates of law studies, prior to the bureau exam for lawyers and in the final exams of medicine and accounting.

Exam anxiety among people with learning difficulties or ADHD – may develop test anxiety due to a feeling of insecurity about their ability to take an exam. Moreover, if the difficulties were not diagnosed while they were students, exam anxiety can intensify.

Exam anxiety among adolescents towards matriculation – the phenomenon of test anxiety is growing and intensifying among adolescents aged 17-18 who invest all their energy in preparing for the desired matriculation.

It is important to note that there is no connection between the level of intelligence and exam anxiety. Exam anxiety is related to a person’s emotional / mental resilience, his level of observation of himself or the level of observation of the environment from him, and for most of these reasons it will develop, regardless of the level of intelligence.

Common physiological symptoms

  • Pressure expressed in rapid pulse
  • Sweating mainly in the palms
  • Trembling and feeling chills
  • Dizziness and headache
  • dry mouth
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting
  • A feeling of fainting

Common reasons:

  • Tendency to perfectionism – the desire to spend in all professions 100 and no less than excellent (I received only 80? I must get 100)
  • Family pressure for success – In many families the parents create a comparison between the children, when there is a particularly successful older brother in the house and his academic achievements
  • Social pressure for success – when there are good friends in the class who repeatedly give excellent grades and thus influence their friends and create social pressure around the excellent grade
  • Institutional climate Stressful and competitive learning – In a society where academic studies and high admission requirements set by the Council for Higher Education are of paramount importance, competition and pressure is created around psychometric scores and the matriculation average, in order to be accepted into the long-awaited academic track
  • Difficulty in certain subjects – Sometimes exam anxiety is characterized by certain subjects such as, mathematics, physics, English
  • Difficulty in learning skills / Students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Sometimes students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder will find it difficult to develop exam anxiety.
  • Interpersonal relationships with the teacher – a component that significantly affects elementary and middle school age, when the communication of the student and the teacher is poor and their relationship is defined as problematic
  • Crisis situations that are not directly related to studies – when the student (at all ages) goes through a crisis at home, divorce, but, a serious illness that afflicts one of his loved ones, a significant decrease in the student’s concentration level and symptoms of class and exam time can be seen

How does exam anxiety affect us?

חרדת הבחינות משפיעה עלינו משלב בו אנו מכינים עצמינו לקראת הבחינה ומרגישים את הלחץ והפחד מהמבחן הקרב ובא. שיא ההשפעה מתבטא במבחן עצמו, שסף החרדה עולה ומכניע אותנו באמצעות מספר מרכיבים:

  • תופעות רגשיות לחרדת בחינות – תחושת פחד וחרדה, תחושת אכזבה, תחושת כעס ודיכאון, תחושת חוסר אונים ותסכול. בשלב ההכנה לקראת המבחן יכולים להופיע רגשות נוספים כמו עצבנות, דכדוך או ייאוש.
  • תופעות פיזיולוגיות לחרדת בחינות – בחילות והקאות, רעד בידיים, הזעה בכפות ידיים ובכל הגוף, דופק מהיר, כאב ראש, סחרחורת, נשימות מהירות, תחושת עילפון, שלשולים וכאבי בטן. התגובות הפיזיות שונות מאדם לאדם ויכולות להופיע בוריאציות שונות.
  • Cognitive effects of exam anxiety – lack of concentration, temporary forgetfulness as a result of stress, difficulties in these areas can appear while studying for the test, in the test itself or both. During the test a person experiencing exam anxiety may experience a blackout, meaning a temporary disconnect that does not allow him to remember the material he has studied. A person with test anxiety constantly thinks anxious thoughts and these thoughts interfere with the thought processes and reduce the possibility that he will pass the exam.
  • Behavioral effects of exam anxiety – restlessness, overuse of dangerous substances such as alcohol, drugs and sedatives. As a result of the desire to lower the threshold of stress and anxiety, the anxious person can make wrong decisions and thus harm his health and his ability to bring himself to the full realization of his full potential.