What Causes Exam Stress and Anxiety?

Normally, the anxiety is caused by the way we view the challenge of exams.

If you are a teenager or young adult, getting that qualification probably means everything to you. You may feel it is all or nothing. There's nobody around you saying it doesn't matter'. And you are sure "it does matter'.

Of course, exams are important but it is easy to over- inflate their importance. In normal circumstances, your body prepares for a challenge, such as exams, by producing the hormone adrenaline. But if you are too anxious it may produce too much adrenaline and this will only increase your anxiety and may leave you overwhelmed by stress.

Anxiety affects your brain. While adrenaline is sometimes called the fight or flight hormone, too much of it can lead to mental confusion or brain freeze - the last thing you want to happen in an exam.

Another common cause of exam stress is brought on by people predicting the worst case scenarios - often months before the exam. Here, your body is responding to an anticipated threat - one that hasn't even appeared yet - and stress at this point can upset your revision plans.

Regardless of the origins of your stress, however, help is at hand in the shape of tried and tested CBT strategies.

Some of them are surprisingly simple and may just sound like old fashioned wisdom to you. But, as a type of CBT, they have been scientifically tested and shown to work.

Please look for our next series of articles where we explore the different types of CBT strategies and teach you how to complete them in order to ease your exam stress and anxiety.


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