1. What is anxiety? How is it different from fear?
It is common for most people to get confused between fear and anxiety.
Fear is a basic human emotion and experienced in response to an immediate danger, it prepares the body for immediate escape from a threatening situation.
Anxiety on the contrary is a response to perceived threat; it is experienced in anticipation of a future danger.
2. What is the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorders?
Anxiety is not always detrimental instead it facilitates human preparedness and adaption to stressful situations. Optimal anxiety is instrumental in enhancing motivation, learning and performance.
Anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders on the contrary are marked by the experience of significant distress and impair the functioning of an individual.
3. Can exam anxiety be helpful? A certain amount of exam anxiety keeps us energized, motivated, alert, and focused. But too much anxiety can interfere with exam performance by blocking our recall or thinking abilities, by fostering negative frames of mind, or even by promoting panic reactions.
4. Exam anxiety can result in?
Perspiration, sweaty palms, feeling too hot or cold
Headaches, upset stomach, nausea
Rapid heartbeat, shallow/irregular breathing, dizziness
· Muscle tightness
Feeling guilty, angry, depressed or unsure
Procrastination and avoidance
Sleeping too much or too little
Fatigue or inability to relax
Alcohol or drug misuse
Negative or defeating self-talk
Difficulty with concentration or focus
Difficulty retrieving or selecting key terms or concepts
Difficulty organizing, integrating or expressing your thoughts
Going blank on exam questions
Remembering the correct answers after the exam is over
5. What are some things that can reduce exam anxiety?
In weeks before the exam
Studying in advance
Organization of material
Practice methods of relaxation and stress reduction
Listen to relaxing music
Balance sleeping and eating
Create a balanced schedule that includes some breaks, exercise and
Setting realistic study goals
On the day of exam
Get adequate sleep
Eat a moderate and healthy breakfast (and lunch)
Take it easy on caffeine
Arrive at the exam location early
Do something relaxing the hour before the exam
Last minute cramming may cloud your course knowledge
Avoid classmates that could upset your composure by wanting to chat or go
over last-minute information.
If anxiety increases while you wait for the exam to begin, use relaxation and
visualization methods or distract yourself by thinking of your after-exam
During the exam
Tackling Exam Questions
(The author Dr. Samant Darshi is a Psychiatrist at Playmate Noida. Views are his own)