Having a jittery feeling in your stomach, sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat when you’re walking into an exam is normal. It’s your body telling you that you’re about to do something important. And those kinds of symptoms can actually improve your performance.
So if you find yourself starting to freak out, try greeting the anxiety rather than fighting it. Acknowledge that the feelings you’re having are there for a reason, that noticing them is helpful, and that being nervous is actually a good thing because it means you care.
Focus on the things you’ve done to get ready for this moment. Did you go to class every day? Did you read the textbook? Did you take notes? Did you review the concepts? Being positive – even getting quantitative – can help. Think “I spent 60 hours in class getting ready for this day,” instead of “I wish I’d spent more time studying.”
But for some people, those uneasy feelings are more than just nerves. When the physical signs of anxiety move beyond a certain threshold – if you’re sweating profusely, your mind is going blank when you’re trying to come up with an answer you definitely knew yesterday, or you’re having difficulty understanding questions and organizing your thoughts – then please come see us in Wellness and Psychological Services. We’re here to help.
And if you walk out of an exam feeling lousy, start thinking about how you can use that experience to make things better next time. There are lots of practical skills, strategies and techniques that really do make a difference, but they take time to learn. The Student Success Centre and Wellness and Psychological Services are both open over the summer. It’s the perfect time to be proactive. Stop by and visit us, make a plan for next year and get those skills that will help you in the long run, whether you’re writing an exam, making a presentation or interviewing for a job.
—Tory Pino, Counsellor, Wellness and Psychological Services
Does almost anything sounds better than writing an exam? We have two questions your can ask yourself, and a bunch of ideas that just might help.
This story is part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. The program connects training opportunities, support services, resources and stories from real people across the MacEwan University community.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.