How to Treat Exam Anxiety with CBT?


It is considered exam anxiety when someone worries about, preoccupies themselves with, obsesses over testing situations. This can manifest in the school setting as well as the work setting. On a cognitive level this anxiety may show up as an obsessive rumination that thoughts are not clear or unfocused.
As experts talk about it being exam time, people often experience thoughts of terror and panic start to run through their mind-imagining what if they should fail? What will I do for work? How will I provide for myself or my family?

What is Exam Anxiety?

Exam anxiety is defined as the intense anxiety that prevents the effective use of the information learned prior to the exam and leads to a decrease in success.

What are the symptoms of exam anxiety?

Restlessness, anxiety, distress, fear of failure, unwillingness to work, nausea, tachycardia, tremor, dry mouth, internal distress, sweating, sleep disorders, abdominal pain, etc. physical complaints, deterioration in attention and concentration, decreased self-confidence, insufficient are common symptoms.

Contrary to what some may think, exam anxiety is a mental health condition. This means that if you experience the debilitating symptoms on a daily basis, it’s more than just a passing high level of stress. It needs to be addressed before it gets any worse and affects your life in major ways.
For this reason, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has proven many times over to be an effective treatment for restoring the sense of control, self-mastery and self-efficacy that can make all the difference when it comes to overcoming test anxiety forever! And that means living free from undue worry or fear anytime exams come around.

Here you can reach more information on CBT

exam anxiety
Exam Anxiety

Do you have exam anxiety?

If you have this anxiety disorder;
A significant decrease in student achievement is observed. The student wants to postpone the study, does not want to talk about the exam and exam preparation. They feel uncomfortable asking questions. Distraction, inability to focus, There is a remarkable increase in physical complaints.

Abdominal pain
Nausea
Sweating
Sleep disorders
Anorexia or reverse eating
General unhappy mood

What are the negative effects of Exam Anxiety?

The student cannot transfer the learned information, cannot understand what they read, they have difficulty in organizing their thoughts, their attention is reduced, their mental skills are weakened, their physical energy decreases.

negative effects of exam anxiety

Why does Exam Anxiety occur?

Having unrealistic ways of thinking is the most important process in the formation of anxiety. It is more common in people with depression-prone personality structure (perfectionist, competitive). Expectations and pressure of the social environment is also an important factor.

What are the negative automatic thoughts that have an impact on exam anxiety?

I’m not ready for the exam.
This information is unnecessary and ridiculous. Where and when should I use it?
This information is of no use to me in the future.
I don’t have time to prepare for the exam!
Can’t understand these things, I must be stupid
I don’t understand these issues anyway.
I know I’m not gonna make this test.
The exam will be bad.
There are too many topics, which one should I prepare for?

Frequently observed are negative automatic thoughts.

What are alternative considerations?

What am I supposed to do?
Can I do the best I can?
What’s the worst thing that can happen
It’s not the end of the world. Doesn’t mean I’m always gonna fail.
It’s true that I don’t have enough time, but how can I use my time most effectively?
Even if I cannot study all the resources, I can prepare for the exam by giving priority to important sections, at least I earn points from these sections.
If I succeed, I will surpass an important turning point in my life. Failure doesn’t mean I’m lazy and incompetent. It means I have to work harder.
It’s in my hands to use time for my own benefit

how to treat exam anxiety with cbt? 1

What are the ways to deal with exam anxiety?

Questioning thoughts and beliefs (re-evaluating unrealistic thinking habits with a different eye)
Breathing exercises
Relaxation exercises
Not trying to suppress anxiety, but to accept and recognize it. The technique of stopping thoughts.
The technique of focusing attention to other points.

What is Anxiety Management?

First of all, it is an approach that focuses on the exam and focuses on questions, helps in organizing thoughts, gathering attention, preventing negative thinking and frustration, helps success by developing a sense of control, and plays an important role in performing real performance.

 What should you do before the exam?

It is necessary to try to create a new mental structure by reviewing the working habits and attitudes towards the exam. You should use your time well. Nutrition and sleep is important. It is also important not to leave the studies for the exam to the last day / night.

What can you do during the exam?

You can bring alternative explanations against negative automatic thoughts.

Remind yourself that you are in control.

You should start with the questions he can answer.

You can use techniques to reduce anxiety.


  Fast relaxation
  Attention-raising techniques
  Controlled breathing exercise

What can you do after the exam?

Rewarding yourself
You can participate in enjoyable activities. (There may be a party)

ways to deal with exam anxiety

What are the options for families?

Families should be aware of their limits. They should give their children confidence and responsibility, care about their children and give positive feedback to their children. Families should be attentive in the speeches about the exam, be realistic and avoid comparing their children with their peers.

Sharing emotions and thoughts, empathy is important. Children must be loved unconditionally. Family members should be appropriate role models, provide appropriate family environment and appropriate problem-solving behaviors should be developed.

When is psychiatric support is necessary?

If a mental disorder occurs;

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Sleeping disorder

Selected Publications on Exam Anxiety

Andrews, B.; Wilding, J. M. (2004). “The relation of depression and anxiety to life-stress and achievement in students”

Pritchard, M. E.; Wilson, G. S. (2003). “Using emotional and social factors to predict student success”

 M.; Laflamme, L. (2008). “Experienced stress, psychological symptoms, self-rated health and academic achievement

Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by William Lindberg

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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