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Topic: Uni Exam Anxiety

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. AnxiousS
    AnxiousS avatar
    14 posts
    15 June 2019

    Hi everyone

    To put it simply, my anxiety about uni exams is out of control. When I'm not worrying about failing my next exam, I'm worrying about how I probably failed the last one I did. Especially since I've done very badly on exams this semester, the wait to get my results after walking out of the exam room is becoming absolutely unbearable. I can't sleep the night before an exam (or any night really), even if I'm tired, and I've tried meditation and avoiding caffeine and all that and I don't know what else I can do. Part of it is that I'm literally terrified of going to bed at this point, because I know that lying in bed with time to think just turns me into an anxious mess, no matter how much I try to think about other things. I know logically that stressing about exams that have already happened have literally 0 possibility of changing the outcome, but I can't help it. I've also had to leave all of my exams to go at some point and sit in the bathroom just so I could have some time out to breathe because I literally feel like the ground is swallowing me up in there.

    I've had a pretty bad semester overall - tough subjects combined with bad mental health and an overall lack of motivation have made the last 3 months really difficult, and while I know I want to keep going next semester, the thought of going through this 5 more times before the end of my degree has me wondering if I can do this. I study really hard, but whatever I do I just can't seem to get half decent results - it's really hard seeing people who literally spend the study period doing nothing or even on holiday have an easier time than me with exams. I tried talking to a university counsellor, but honestly they could not have been less useful and seemed more keen to talk about what my life plans entailed which only made me more anxious.

    Please help me!

    Sarah x

  2. continuousventer
    continuousventer avatar
    36 posts
    15 June 2019 in reply to AnxiousS

    Hi Sarah

    I have two more uni exams. What fun!

    It's okay to be anxious about your exams. However, you are probably feeling burned out from the stress. The stress means you just care about your performance on the exam.

    No amount of worry will change your results. I feel as though you are forgetting that your health is important because you're prioritising your grades over it. I'm a hypocrite because I've done it too. I've been burnt by this semester worrying about my performance on my assignments.

    If you pass or fail the exam, what matters most is what you do from that point. You can redeem yourself.

    According to Yerkes Dodson's Law, our peak performance is when we are in Eustress. There's calm, eustress and Distress. Distress is like fatigue or anxiety. Don't worry I am anxious too.

    What is decent to you? For me decent is 70% but I just want to pass my units. It sucks because occupational therapy is competitive so I need to aim higher or move to a different course.

    I'm motivated at uni because I want a better life for myself, but it's difficult for me because I don't have much support.

    I really hope you're not pulling all nighters. Please do take some time for yourself, do what you like like for me, I was going on the swings for like 20 minutes today. It helps me cope. What helps you cope?

    I can also relate with sleep because there have been times where I've had 3 hour sleep days.

    I'm sorry if this post doesn't help much

  3. AnxiousS
    AnxiousS avatar
    14 posts
    16 June 2019 in reply to continuousventer


    Firstly, good luck on your exams! I have one left until I'm finally free.

    I couldn't agree more with you that I'm feeling burned out - I'm always a pretty stressed out person but I've definitely crossed way over the line into distressed this exam season and it's only making me do worse.

    In terms of grades, my current average is about 70 but I'm way past worrying about keeping it there this semester - I just want to pass. I can relate about the field being competitive as everyone around me (except me) seems to want to go into medicine or a similar field and obviously it sets the bar very high. I know I failed my first exam (and therefore failed the unit), and it's pretty hard to walk back into another exam the next day after such a confidence hit.

    It's good that you have an idea of where you want to go though! I worry every day about the fact that I don't know what to do when I finish, and it only makes it harder to stay motivated to do well. It also makes the thought of failing even more scary, because I don't know where I might decide to go and how some bad grades might affect my opportunities.

    I'm trying to maintain a pretty good sleep schedule, it's just been pretty hard when it takes me hours to get to sleep and therefore leaves me really tired the next morning and throws everything out of sync.

  4. continuousventer
    continuousventer avatar
    36 posts
    17 June 2019 in reply to AnxiousS
    Dear AnxiousS

    Good luck with your last exam :)) Honestly, I am a stressed out person all the time. I need to be more calm and composed.

    I'm not too worried about my scores because I'm trying to survive the course. I've read somewhere that it is a dangerous game to attach your feelings with your grades. It is true. However, I can understand where you're coming from because good grades make us feel good about ourselves. The more good grades we get, the more we get accustomed to it. I fear the one day I actually fail and I cannot deal with it. I'll have to learn how to deal with it.

    Sometimes it feels like I'm in a rat race with everyone else. Like here I am, I have no car license, I'm not well, I don't have a supportive family and I'm not confident in my abilities but I'll be up against other applicants when I do get in the job field. It is scary. I'll have to make the best of what I have.

    Honestly, I don't even know why I choose OT. It just seemed like there was more jobs.

    how do you know you've failed your first exam though? like is it the feeling? Your uni hasn't released the exam marks yet?

    Don't let a past exam ruin your future performance. You can do this! You got this!

    My problem is that I dance too much and listen to songs when I should be sleeping. Oops.