Exam Stress; OCD

TroubleinParadise

TroubleinParadise

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
176
Location
South Africa
#1
Hi guys,

I'm reaching out here a little. I've decided to swallow my pride and speak about some stress that I'm having. Basically, throughout my schooling years I had bad performance anxiety, due to perfectionism, as a result of my obsessive personality (diagnosed OCD because of the anxiety & compulsive behaviour); that being said I never performed that well in school. I always did above average, or slightly above average, but exams were always a major stress for me. I didn't study well.

I'm going to be writing college exams for an office management certificate that I decided to do last year in June. I'm writing in May however I still find that catastrophic and perfectionism seems to root itself; and I end up wondering if I'm even going to pass. I went through each textbook, there are 6 of them, did all the self-assessments, wrote notes and mind maps of each and every page - and have done practice exams for 4 out of the 6 textbooks. I still don't feel like it's enough.

I know that it sounds ridiculous, and I've been trying to think differently; but I've been like this ever since I was a young child; and for 2 years after high school it crippled and controlled me. I just need some exam tips and tricks; perhaps some positive affirmations; or something just to make this a little more bearable.
 
TroubleinParadise

TroubleinParadise

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
176
Location
South Africa
#2
I tend to get very negative thoughts about this, ranging from:

"How do you ever expect to achieve anything of value if something as simple as a higher certificate covering basic accounting principles, basic business psychology, laws, and management techniques seems to bring you so much stress?"

Or "If you fail this you have just wasted another year of your life - you kept your easy job only because of this; so if you can't do this you've just successfully wasted more time."
 
G

gam9147

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
350
Location
Delaware, USA
#3
Hi my friend, thanks for sharing. I hope you know that no one here is going to judge you for your anxieties lest we ourselves be judged!

And even though I haven't had quite so much difficulty with test taking anxiety in the past, I've had some and I do remember what it feels like to go into big exams or tests and be incredibly nervous and have those counter productive thoughts.

Would any counters help? I don't know the particular exam but how many times can you re-take it and how often can you retake it? in other words what is the actual time/cost penalty for not passing it this time around? Is that so bad? For example with standardize school testing in the US like SATs you can retake them several times with only a few months apart, so if your anxiety gets the better of you one time, no biggie... reschedule (at least objectively no biggie).

Other helpful hints -- try to remember that your not trying to score 100%, allow for yourself to make some mistakes and simply work on getting through the experience.

It doesn't sound like your having trouble studying? just with the anxiety of the test day itself? so you are adequately prepared, if not overly prepared, its just a matter of using some grounding during that day to get there and get through it. How long is the test? do you get any breaks? can you learn/use some grounding techniques and take a minute or two out of the test to silently bring yourself back to present if you need to?

I hope that helps some. Remember that we usually overthink anxious situations and when it actually happens more than likely you will do much better than you think!
 
TroubleinParadise

TroubleinParadise

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
176
Location
South Africa
#4
Hi thanks for your thoughtful response. I could use help with getting grounded. Anxiety is going to be my biggest problem. If I experience too much of it I won't be able to focus. What do you think might help?
 
G

gam9147

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
350
Location
Delaware, USA
#5
The cliche one that is commonly used is to snap a rubber band on your wrist to 'bring you back' to the moment. You can also use an object, like I have some beads, or a coin or something to hold, press... feel, describe . You can use a counting technique, like count backwards in 3s or 7s from 100.

Here are some other ideas:
https://drsarahallen.com/7-ways-to-calm/

obviously some of these maybe harder while your actually in an exam, but some of them can be done without an issue.
 
G

gam9147

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
350
Location
Delaware, USA
#7
One other word of advice if your new to distraction techniques is like with everything else, they need practice. So practice them when you are feeling OK not just when you are feeling poorly, so you can make them learned behaviors to apply easier when you are feeling terrible and don't have as much cognitive power to 'think' about how to do them.
 
TroubleinParadise

TroubleinParadise

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
176
Location
South Africa
#8
That's actually a good idea.

Hey thanks so much man. I'm feeling a little less stressed about things now.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
H Anxiety Forum 4
G Anxiety Forum 1
C Anxiety Forum 2
midnightphoenix Anxiety Forum 95
R Anxiety Forum 1

Similar threads