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Overcoming Examination Fear

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Examination used to be that moment you deliberately set aside to punish my psychology. That is, I saw it back then as your way of telling me “I am just here to torment your understanding”, because I have allowed my fear of going through organized test to cloud my judgement of what is right. Even those who are home schooled still get to have when they would be tested of what they have learnt so far. My name is Michelle, here is my change story on how I came by embracing examination without fear. I hope you find your redemption in this.

Why did you make that change?

It did not occur to me throughout my High School days that I needed to break the yoke of getting under the weather because of examinations. Even when I don’t have issues with assimilation and retention, there is this thing in me that holds me down that I would fail. It got to the extent that I would doubt myself so hard that I found right answers as the wrong ones due to my fear for the whole process called examination.

I explained to the school’s psychologist, one of the days I summoned the courage of facing that uneasy moment with someone who makes you rethink your own sanity; you know what I mean. I told him little of the things I feel, like how I would allow the thoughts of failing to dominate my mind whenever examinations are fast approaching. Like leaving the right things undone during examination due to my doubt in my own abilities.

He told me all falls back to me. That, since I have the consciousness of what failure is, then I should be able to work towards success and make it happen. That was the only thing I remembered after that session with him. So, I waited for the next examination to come; which came few weeks after my session with him, I was not set for that new life still. I thought the little charge I picked up there would neutralize the whole fright at my next attempt. No, I got it all wrong.

Till I was preparing for my final exams in preparation for the University. I was sitting down in one of the classrooms and it pinched me that I must make good grades to be able to get into University of my dreams. I started questioning myself, “why should I doubt my own self? What would be my gain if all I could do after preparing for an examination is to have lower grades due to my own lack of believe? What happens if I did not make the required grades to be admitted to the University?”

Basically, it was little of motivation and psychological help that brought about this change. It was more of my inner desire to make a great change for my own life. So, I went for the exams, and made it happen.

What was the transition like for that change?

The transition was a very challenging and tempting one. There were nights I would wake up to picture myself writing exams without fear after the counselling at the school’s psychologist’s office. I would ask around from my friends what they feel every time when examinations are coming. Some told me, they get a little frightened and then go ahead to do what they have to do. Some said they just go inside and write and wait for results. But none was able to feel my shoes when they are answering my questions concerning this challenge.

So, I started with answering assignments immediately in the hall after closing hours. I would see those moments as my own way of organizing pseudo-tests that I needed to pass to move into the next day. It was not easy because it increased my time with studying, and lessened my timeout with the girls. Of course, who does not want to be at the pool party? Who wants to miss the overhyped birthday parties?

Like a new baby, I took those steps gradually, till I started walking. Every opportunity that came my way to test my intellectual abilities came in handy because, I had to leverage on them all as my attempt at getting up to the level of killing my own fears of examination.

The pain of trying to answer almost every question attached to different modules in my subjects did not come easy. But they were all the prepared me for my final exams that paved my way into the University with more than the required grades. I was not the best graduating student or closer to the top three yet, it was a lifetime victory.

Top 3 actions you took to make this change?

  1. Acknowledging my challenge: I was able to see fears of going into examination hall as a big challenge that needed to be attended to. I did not wave it by, I took it as important as breathing is to the body system. I realized if I did not make it a known fact to myself that it is a setback, I won’t be able to find solution to it.
  2. Asked for help: I was unable to comprehend the situation on my own. I went in search for help. I visited the psychologist’s office even when it seems difficult to do so. I asked questions from close friends, though they might not have provided a way out for me totally but, the fact that I could see I was not the only one going through such, just that we have different approaches to it, I was a bit relieved.
  3. I acted: Though my actions weren’t organized one like one going through sessions of therapy but, I made sure I put the things I had heard from everyone that answered my question into practice.

What are the outcomes of that change?

Most of the outcomes are life changing:

  1. It led to me having more studying hours.
  2. I was able to develop love for knowledge, because not only oral answers came to my aid, I also read on the possible causes and how to tackle it.
  3. Of course, I was able to pass my final high school examinations, and other examinations that came after that.
  4. I now see tests and examinations as a normal thing to deal with and not unmovable mountains.

What lessons do you learn?

  1. I found out that I am the first change that can happen to myself.
  2. I learned that I am the only one that can give my fears life. Fear is the reaction we give to something coming from the outside.
  3. It is always good to ask questions when you are lost. No matter how unorganized responses come, you would surely find ways in them.

I hope this would really help you.

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