Exam Anxiety: What Is It And How Does It Affect Students?

Exam Anxiety: What Is It And How Does It Affect Students?

Preparing for an upcoming examination can be a stressful time for any student. In fact, many students around the world experience some amount of anxiety and stress before and during examinations. However, in some severe cases, exam anxiety can lead to impaired learning and hurt a student’s test performance. For this reason, it is vital to address exam anxiety early.

Identifying exam anxiety in your child is necessary for helping them learn how to deal with it. Fortunately, there are several strategies to reduce exam anxiety in a student, one of which is to engage in private home tuition to help them prepare for their exams better and more efficiently. In this article, we share more about exam anxiety and the major signs that tell you your child might have it.


What is exam anxiety?

Exam anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that gives a person a feeling of nervousness when they are in a situation where performance is crucial or when there is pressure to do well. Usually, for students who struggle with exam anxiety, a bit of pre-test nervousness can turn into debilitating feelings of dread, worry, and fear, which can adversely impact performance.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that exam anxiety is not the same as merely doing poorly on a particular exam because your mind is distracted by something else. Most people are aware that having other things on their minds, such as the death of a loved one or a breakup, can interfere with their focus and prevent them from performing well on an exam – this is entirely different from having exam anxiety.


Common signs of exam anxiety


  • Having a hard time concentrating while studying for upcoming exams

Difficulty concentrating is one of a student’s most common indications of exam anxiety. If your child has a hard time staying focused when they sit down to study, they may be experiencing anxiety. Exam anxiety usually causes a student to become overwhelmed or frustrated by the thought of the upcoming exam, making it challenging for them to focus.


  • Fear of failure or a feeling of doom during exams

If your child is visibly upset or stressed out talking about their upcoming exams and is preoccupied with the thought of failing, they are likely to be anxious about their tests. Even when a student has already dedicated so many hours of studying, they may sometimes still worry that they will fail no matter how much preparation they make. This is another common sign of exam anxiety.


  • Going blank or freezing during exams

Blanking out on exams is a classic indication of exam anxiety. Anxiety, especially if excessive, can cause the mind of a student to go blank or freeze. This is usually a result of panic. Exam anxiety interferes with both performance and memory. If your child is highly anxious and in a panic mood, they will find it very hard to recall things. Essentially, the more nervous a student is, the more difficult it is to remember.


  • Physical symptoms before exams 

Like any other form of performance anxiety, exam anxiety can bring about ‘butterflies’ in the stomach, a stomachache, or even a headache. Some students may also feel sweaty and shaky or notice their heart beating rapidly as they wait for the exam paper to be given out. A student with extreme exam anxiety may feel like they are about to pass out or throw up.


  • Lack of confidence

Anxiety also causes people to lose confidence in themselves. When your child has exam anxiety, they tend to go into tests with negative thoughts. Sometimes, they may even give up without really trying. Students with exam anxiety often think, “What is the point? I am just going to fail in the end,” which usually leads to a cycle of low grades and more anxiety and stress.



Aside from the fact that it can negatively impact your child’s test performance, constant anxiety and stress induced by exams can also lead to health issues, such as heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, depression, and the like. As such, it is imperative that you treat exam anxiety seriously. By knowing what exam anxiety is and its common signs, you can now more easily identify it in your child and help them overcome it early on.

Suppose your child has upcoming exams, and you think they are incredibly anxious about them. In that case, you should consider signing them up for 1-to-1 home tuition in Singapore to help them prepare for the tests more efficiently and calmly. At Tuition Family Singapore, we have some of the best private tutors in the country who are passionate about helping students improve their academic performances, no matter their level. To get an effective tutor for your child, simply fill out our tutor request form according to your budget and needs. Leave the rest up to us!