Preparing for an exam can be a stressful experience, with emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement (). It's essential to understand the emotional impact of exam preparation, as it can affect your performance and well-being. Managing your emotions during this time is crucial, and it starts with understanding why you feel the way you do.
One common emotion during exam preparation is anxiety. It's natural to feel nervous before a big test, but excessive anxiety can impair your ability to focus and recall information. To manage anxiety, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, and focus on positive affirmations to boost your confidence.
Another emotional hurdle is the fear of failure. The fear of not meeting your own or others' expectations can lead to procrastination and self-doubt. To overcome this fear, set realistic goals, break down the material into manageable chunks, and seek support from friends or tutors (or us here at CEA!). I’ve known too many students that have put off exam prep because they’ve failed it once or twice, and co-worker or manager expectations to pass just eats them up, preventing them from moving forward.
Finally, excitement can also be a challenging emotion to manage. While it's essential to stay motivated, excessive excitement can lead to overconfidence and lack of focus. To balance excitement with productivity, set achievable goals, prioritize your study time, and take breaks to recharge your energy. I think it’s OK to be excited about your exam prep, but don’t let that lead to overconfidence. I’ve seen many students feel excited and gung ho for the exam, but after receiving their results, deflated. It’s good to be excited, but let’s reign it in and still prepare well for the big day.
Ultimately, emotional exam preparation is complex and requires attention to your thoughts and feelings. By managing your emotions, you can improve your performance, reduce stress, and ultimately achieve your goal of crushing your exam. Don’t let the NCEES control your emotions. If you’re mad at them for past failures, you’ve already lost. Control those emotions, and you’re winning this game.
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Author: Isaac Oakeson, PE
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