Test anxiety as a devil’s circle

Students are not only highly vulnerable to poverty, they are often left alone by politics and society, but are also struggling with fear of existence and future. Often these multiple burdens resulting in a form of test anxiety.

Everyone probably kicked an unpleasent test down the road. In the case of thinking blocks during the exam or even in the case of a massive impairment in learning, we are even more inclined to this behavior. The stress and the long-term stress can put us in such a way that they lead also to nervousness, fatigue, eating disorders, heart rashes, stomach and throb problems.

Why do I have test anxiety?

Who does not pass exams isn’t automatically dumb. There are well-founded fears that can lead to failure in examinations. For example, intransparent requirements, so-called knock-out tests, poor preparation (partly due to time constraints), or even because of incapable or incalculable teachers.

Of course, the subconscious also plays a role in examining. Regardless of whether there have been previous fears, unresolved conflicts or problems with self-esteem – the causes are manifold. Often our psyche suffers during the university, we are neither children nor “finished” adults. As a student or student, you are subject to the authority of the university. It is also a struggle against the stigma of society, the thought of failing or nothing to know are omnipresent, plus the fear of punishment. Often, it is not a direct punishment, but in turn the fear of having to learn to reduce social contacts and the free time.

Fear of insanity also plays a big role, because no one wants to be embarrassed in front of friends, family or fellow students. In addition – unlike in the school or at the Fachhochschule – there is no direct feedback or an acknowledgment. A note is often the only feedback. A lack of self-assurance can, paradoxically, lead to excessive self-demands – a devil’s circle.

Although there are no concrete figures, it is quite conceivable that students from non-academic families are more likely to struggle with such problems than those from educational backgrounds.

The university’s daily routine is also sometimes aggressive and raw. Particularly with oral examinations it can be a defense, since the situation is seen as a struggle with the examination commission and also the enormous pressure in final examinations should not be underestimated. What comes after graduation? What will become of me? Will I find a job? All questions which can be a burden for us.

How do I best deal with my examinations?

There is no single right way, it is important to be aware of the individual situation and the causes. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Learning strategies and leisure
    Learning is indispensable for any exam, but other techniques should be used, depending on the exam. For a diploma, you should learn differently than for a “normal” exam, an oral or a multiple-choice test. Intensive learning is important, but while I lose myself in the literature I should not forget to take breaks and a balancing leisure.
  2. The view of the real
    It is important to inform yourself in advance about the examination procedures, the form and the material of the test in order to get a realistic picture of it. Neither the best nor the worst fantasies lead to success, but concrete facts. The universities offer mostly enough information and in many fields of study the students organize themselves independently in forums or groups on Facebook. Attention: Not all information is helpful, especially in the social media, no one guarantees a correctness.
  3. Die Prüfungsangst nutzen
    Stress kann uns zu passiven Akteuren machen, aber er kann auch für Höchstleistungen genutzt werden. Eine frühe Auseinandersetzung mit der Angst vor dem Versagen kann in die richtigen Bahnen gelenkt werden und motivieren.
  4. Konsequenzen richtig abschätzen
    Oft macht man sich die Welt schlechter als sie ist. Eine Laissez-faire Attitüde kann antrainiert werden, da die Konsequenzen meist nicht existenzbedrohend sind. Es kommt wie es kommt, mit ein bisschen Gelassenheit ist der Kopf für den eigentlichen Stoff frei.
  5. Mentales Training und Rollenspiele
    Es hilft, wenn du dich an einen ruhigen Ort zurückziehst und dir die Prüfungssituation, also den Raum, die Prüfenden, den Stoff usw. vor deinem geistigen Auge vorstellst. Konfrontation kann bei vielen Ängsten helfen. Auch eine Art Rollenspiel mit Kolleginnen und Kollegen kann hilfreich sein, in einer Lerngruppe sind die Beteiligten meistens offen für Abwechslung zum trockenen lernen.
  6. Akute Angst bewältigen
    Auch wenn du all diese Ratschläge verinnerlichst, kann die bei der Prüfung die Angst überwältigen. Versuche Strategien dagegen zu entwickeln. Versuche bei Schweißausbrüchen und Herzrasen dich wieder zu konzentrieren und atme tief durch. Wenn du eine Frage nicht beantworten kannst, verliere keine wertvolle Zeit, denk nicht mehr an sie und beantworte einfach die nächste Frage.
  7. Die Ängste verstehen und darüber sprechen
    Es ist nie eine gute Idee sich mit Problemen und Ängsten zu verkriechen. Suche aktiv das Gespräch, rede mit vertrauten Personen oder Kolleginnen und Kollegen darüber – vielleicht geht es ihnen ähnlich? Unsere Expertinnen und Experten haben ebenfalls ein offenes Ohr für dich, außerdem gibt es auch eine psychologische Studierendenberatung des Bundesministeriums für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft.