Over the years, students at all levels of education have been confounded by an intimidating terror which comes alive in them whenever a said examination is approaching. Many students have been “victims” of this anxiety fright and the parents/guardians and instructors of these students mostly misinterpret it as un-seriousness, negligence, laziness and unpreparedness for the approaching examination which in fact, most times, is untrue. Of course, I am not disputing the fact that there is the place of laziness, negligence, and unpreparedness on the part of some students who feel they can prepare for any examination any how they want or for some unknown reasons, do not just feel concerned or interested about preparing for the examination and when the examination date is close, that’s when they start studying. Most of the times, these sets of students end up overwhelmed by the bulkiness of the syllabus. Their case is different.
The indications of anxieties range from tension, illness, to diverse forms of fear; fear of failing, fear of not attaining a targeted grade (which is quite different from failing) and so on. But in all, I have categorized these anxieties based on their time of occurrence in students and I have proposed some steps to be taken in order to overcome them.
1) Long-term anxiety: I refer to this mode of anxiety as the one in which the student starts feeling bothered as soon as the date of the exam is announced which is some cases might be 2-3 months before time. Take for example, JAMB UTME, the dates of the examination is always announced at least two months before commencement. In the case of WAEC, the time-table is always out long before the time the examination will take place.
Students who fall in this category become so frightful and so fearful that although they start studying for the examination, the fright consumes and empties all they have studied and it eventually turn out as though those students never opened a page of a book. A student like this gets discouraged and ends up nursing the exam fright till the period of the exam, in which the student will possibly fail.
To overcome long-term anxiety, the victims must acknowledge they have this problem, as acknowledgement is the first step to overcoming this problem. Having admitted the problem, the victims must surround themselves with students who are confident and are not bothered about studying for and writing an examination. Carefully observing how calm and unnerved these students are in preparing for the exam will go a long way in trivializing the examination magnificence in the affected student’s prospect. The parents/guardians and instructors of the victims should also be informed in order to also assist them. Stories of erstwhile affected long-term anxiety victims, probably of parents/guardians and instructors, and how they subsided it can be told.
2) Short-term anxiety: I define this anxiety as one which becomes evident in victims when the examination is about a week or few days away. Students who fall in this category do not feel any form of anxiety initially, rather they start feeling nervous about the examination when it is so close-by. This mostly occurs after having studied conscientiously for the examination, they try out the past questions for the different subjects and realize they can’t solve as many questions as they thought they would be able to. Or in some cases, it might be that the student took more than the required time to solve the questions. Shock comes in which in turn introduces fear, worry and anxiety, which ultimately could nullify the preparedness and the victim becomes discouraged about the exam and conclude it’s not worth it.
My proposition to overcoming short-term anxiety is thereby to have familiarized oneself, while studying, with the past questions so as not to be caught unawares by any difficult and strange-looking questions one might encounter. It is advisable to have a group of students with whom one discusses with and solve diverse ‘strange’ questions with as this equips the victims against diverse difficult questions they might encounter and quicker methods to even solve some questions in order to beat time.
3) D-day anxiety: I describe this anxiety as the type that occurs on the day of the examination, and more specifically, while the examination is being written. This kind of anxiety can affect the performance of a student greatly even after having prepared assiduously for the exam. This occurs mostly when the victim encounters very seemingly difficult and strange-looking questions at the beginning of the question paper. Perhaps the student now attempts these questions and do not find answers in the options, or the question takes a lot of the victims time; uneasiness and anxiety creeps in, which may cause the victim to lose confidence and this in turn might affect the expected performance of the student.
This can be overcome by realizing that, unless otherwise stated, it is not compulsory to answer the questions from top to bottom. It is therefore advisable to skip to much simpler questions and what this does is that it boosts the students’ confidence to answering questions, and the questions that seemed so difficult and strange might be later solved as though it was even simpler than the simple questions.
a closing note, it should be noted that examination anxiety is not exclusive to
brilliant or dull students. Anybody can be a victim of this terror which can
affect the overall performance in an examination greatly. Therefore, all I’ve
tried to do in this piece, is expose you to time categories in which anxiety
could occur and I have correspondingly proposed the steps that can be taken in
order to curb it. I hope you were informed?