Coping with exam anxiety

For some people examinations are a source of inordinate stress. It can be very debilitating mentally. Such stress can lead to medical troubles and can  spoil what would otherwise be a good time at The University of Liverpool. Also,  it can reduce the efficiency of performance so that results emerge lower than  they should. Of course, most people have some reaction to examinations looming  so the problem is to know if we ourselves are the ones who have a more definite  problem or whether we are normally apprehensive.

Basic Revision Method

This is a basic method for most routine descriptive (word based) revision and  some problem solving, mathematical revision, involving four or five steps.

Step One

Read your notes and seek answers to questions.  Be as active in your reading as possible, eg. talk to yourself, walk around the  room (even though people may give you funny looks). Speak into a tape  recorder.

Step Two

When you feel you have understood and can  remember what you have read, close up your notes.

Step Three

Now actively recall what you've just been  reading, asking again the same questions without looking at your notes, until  you have exhausted your recall of the whole topic you've been revising. Whilst  doing so write down what you have recalled in brief notes on a card or a sheet  of paper. It may help you to have the questions written down to refer to in the  recalling process.

Step Four

Check the original notes with the new ones.  Have you recalled all the answers to the questions you were asking?

If yes, you have created a master card, which you can use to re-revise  without having to consult lengthier notes.

If no,

Step Five

Re-read your original notes as in Step One  (above), looking particularly for those points you originally missed. Repeat  Steps Two to Four (above), writing out all the points again, not just those  missed the first time: by doing so, you will still be treating the topic as a  whole and improving your recall of the whole topic.

This may appear time consuming and cumbersome, but it is not. It ensures a  high degree of recall which reading a lot of notes does not.

Taken from "How to Pass Exams without Anxiety" by David Acres

To combine this revision strategy with a relaxation one, see our page on relaxation.