Test relating anxiety

Test Anxiety


Eons ago” my teacher professor Agnihotri gave me this “mantra” that your parents would let you come home even if you fail the exam! It has always worked – I failed and failed and they never closed the door on me! Just being facetious! But the reality is that I did have my share of failures! Biggest one was when I passed all my USMLE’s and had bunch of interviews lined up to get into a psychiatric residency but the visa officer failed me in the “visa exam”. My parents still let me come home. I embraced my failure and by sheer stroke of luck, few months later, I passed the interview conducted over the phone bypassing visa officer and I was offered residency without having to come to USA in person. I was sponsored as an exchange visitor and thumbed my nose at the visa officer- couldn’t deny me because I was being sought by a prestigious institution here in USA.

Another technique which has helped me is to be realistic about the amount of time I have for an examination. I have always calculated the exact number of hours I can possibly study for an exam.

I try to visualize the test taking situation when in a meditative state of mind. I have used this gadget “MUSE” to learn meditation.

I failed my oral boards in psychiatry. In this test, one has to interview a patient in front of two examiners- it was extremely anxiogenic . All my techniques failed. I needed something else to mitigate my test anxiety. Could not afford to take any benzodiazepines because would drug my brain up which was the tool I needed the most. I researched and came upon “Kava Kava”. This a South American herb which works on anxiety without impairing the cognitive functions. I attempted again and passed the examination.

So let me sum it up. Exams are naturally provoke anxiety and for the right reason, otherwise you won’t study. Too little anxiety or too much is a problem. if you have played a string instrument, you would know that one used to have an appropriate amount of tension in the strings to play the music. Too little tension, and the music would be horrible too much would break the strings.

It is too much anxiety I’m talking about which can paralyze your brain or goes jitterbugs where you can’t study at all. One needs to learn how to give oneself these messages. That failure is not the end of the world learn how to visualize the exam situation in a meditative state of mind study realistically the number of hours you have for the exam preparation, and if all that doesn’t work takes some mild antianxiety herbal products.

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