How To Cope With Matric Examination Anxiety

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As matriculants around South Africa prepare for their final school examinations, many will experience anxiety, nervousness and stress.


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As matriculants around South Africa prepare for their final school examinations, many will experience anxiety, nervousness and stress.
Dr Janet Viljoen from Boston Media House explains that anxiety can be caused by a number of different factors when it comes to exams. She says despite this, the impact of Covid-19 must not be underestimated.
Viljoen says that nervousness can often be healthy. She explains that this helps keep people sharp and could aid concentration. However, when this nervousness turns into anxiety then it becomes an issue.
She said, “you might be sort of spiralling into a negative thought pattern pertaining to that, combined with what some people often experience is chest pain combined with a racing heart rate and perhaps feelings of faintness and all of those are in fact indicators that you have crossed over from that healthy nervousness into the negative terrain”.
Viljoen says that time management could help prevent this from happening. She advises students to create a timetable where they can plan to study in short periods. She argues that this is often more effective than studying for a long time in one block. She says students should practice deep breathing, having snacks, drinking water and exercising to break up study blocks.
“Just come back to it after that rather than pushing yourself through hours and hours of studying which ultimately over time becomes less and less effective,” said Viljoen.
She added that getting enough sleep is also crucial to combatting anxiety. She said, “We all fall into the trap of wanting to pull an all-nighter before a big exam but it's really not helpful and it really actually can create a situation of you going blank as you sit down for the exam”.
Students are encouraged to make use of the full-time period given to complete the examination and not to dwell on questions they may have difficulty with.

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