Have you been experiencing sleep-deprivation, extreme mood swings, appetite fluctuation, imposter syndrome, and perpetual doom lately?
Congratulations, that implies your exam preparation is going well (or so we think it is).
Don’t believe me?
Well, this is a common sight amongst students preparing for competitive exams and most students take anxiety as an indicator to motivate themselves more to study harder while others struggle to concentrate.
What are you experiencing?
This type of anxiety is called Performance Anxiety or Test Anxiety. You feel constantly unprepared regardless of how much effort you put into the preparation. While a bit of Performance Anxiety is normal and even healthy, but more than that can induce paralysing fear in the students.
Research shows that most students who experience these are more likely to not be satisfied with their results and complain about not having enough time to prepare, amongst other issues.
They also report that being in a constant state of anxiety is negatively affecting their concentration.
Most students undergo one of the most stressful phases when preparing for exams that have the potential to alter the course of their life. It’s not uncommon for students to swap weekly hangout sessions with their friends with study sessions and opting for rote memorization, especially a couple of weeks before exams, is a common strategy to ensure that they do well.
Some students even go incognito for a few months to prepare for the CAT exam, while others prefer to minimize the time they sleep every night. These have adverse long-term effects on their health.
Alas, after taking all of these measures, students still experience moderate to severe anxiety in the days leading up to the exam.
You might have even tried to find remedies or alternatives to these to avoid performance anxiety. Although most students try, they fall into their old habits. This contributes to creating a perpetual cycle of performance anxiety before exams.
So, What exactly causes performance anxiety?
1. Poor Test History
This is one of the prime reasons students experience performance anxiety before attempting an exam. They think that they will perform the way they have performed in the past.
I want to tell an anxious student like you to be rest assured that your past doesn’t determine your future unless you let it.
2. Lack of Preparation
This is usually the most common reason for performance anxiety. Not adequately preparing for an exam adds to your stress.
Make sure you attempt an exam only when you’re adequately prepared.
3. Anticipation of Failure
It’s easy to fall into the trap of overthinking and dwelling on what if’s but trying not to tie your self-worth to your end-result can ease your CAT journey to a great extent.
However, you might ask if there is any way to cope with it somehow?
Of course, like any other problem, Performance anxiety can be dealt with or avoided rather easily by following a few methods every day.
Here are 4 ways you can avoid Performance Anxiety before CAT Exam:
1. Study Methods
The methods you follow to study for the CAT exam plays an integral part in your preparation. Research has shown active recall and spaced-repetition are the most effective methods to retain the information you study.
According to the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, the amount of sleep the student has in the nights leading up to an exam is directly proportional to how well performative a student’s cognitive senses are on the D-Day. Getting enough sleep every night must be one of your priorities, as not getting enough sleep also results in forgetfulness.
This is a no-brainer. Mindful Meditation helps soothe your nerves and focus better on your preparation.
A quick meditation session before you study or as soon as you wake every day should be enough. It gets your mind on track for the day’s studying.
Lastly, Practice Practice Practice.
There’s no substitute to practising. Practising previous year’s question papers ensures that you’re familiar with the question types and patterns of the CAT exam.
In fact, BellCAT has carefully curated sets of practice questions for each section of the CAT exam to save your time, which can rather be used to prepare to do your best.
Best of luck!