Fear Of Exams


Dorothy Thompsan once said, “Only when we are no longer afraid, do we begin to live.”

Perhaps one of the greatest fears that today’s youth or upcoming generations faces, comes in the form of something that is less threatening in its physical prospect, but more so in the mental prospect. And that, is the fear of examinations.

The fear of examinations can be justified in terms of wanting to succeed and not face failure, but statistically it is found that students today are increasingly  less confident about examinations as their predecessors. Which begs the question, why could that be?

Well there are a lot of potential answers to that.

1. Number Of Exams

One of them could be the sheer number of exams. As a means to cope with the steady increase of competition, roughly averaging a positive turnout of 10% each year, most syllabi in India are aimed at creating more exams to undertake the competition.

2. Fear Instilled by Parents

Secondly, one of the other important factor that comes into play about examinations is the fear that  parents and teachers instil in their students about them. Every student is made aware of the severe consequences of failure, which can digress the motivation which they might have internally to succeed.  

3. Fear Of Examination Hall

Another factor which is less common but still exists is the fear of examination halls. The atmosphere is completely different from a regular classroom. I have seen a few people getting nervous.


1. Its an opportunity to learn more

Examinations are extremely important in a student’s life. It puts to test their potential knowledge on a particular subject. But there should be additional emphasis on the test factor. Students should not be made to fear exams, but rather embrace the opportunity to learn more.

2. Reward System

Alternative Learning includes a reward system for every answer deemed correct on a test and the absence of one when the answer is incorrect. Perhaps adapting a similar sense of classroom and exam familiarity could eliminate the fear of examinations that students constantly face.

3. Keep It Simple

What would effectively counter exam phobia is by removing the complications of the entire process. Currently in the Indian Education System, there are over 200 mandated competitive examinations. Students who often opt to appear for this examinations have to go through rigorous rounds of examinations to really substantiate a decent score, thus putting an additional pressure as the student advances through each round.

By removing this complicated system and replacing it with a simple and more openly interpretable system, it can significantly reduce the amount of pressure that a student faces when it comes to dealing with exams, thereby exclusively eliminating the fear of it.

Sometimes fear is necessary

Despite all the negative effects that “Examphobia” poses, there is a positive side to it. A touch of fear towards something, can always imply interest. You will only fear something so long as you are motivated towards emerging victorious over it. But the real pain lies when you cannot fathom something simply because you irrationally fear it.

Therefore, it becomes extremely important that we draw a line between irrational and rational fear and let students know that it is healthy to fear something. More importantly, it is to bring awareness to the issue of examphobia.

Many students around the world feel deeply that something like an irrational fear of exams is not normal and that nobody will ever go through it. If you encounter someone like this it is very important that you comfort them about this issue and remind them that they are not alone and that every student in the world, has felt this on some degree.

Not all hope is lost by a few words on a page and not all dreams are broken by a few strokes in red ink.

Extra information:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268341768_A_Survey_of_Examination_Phobia_amongst_Students_at_Secondary_School_Level
  2. Online Exam Portal

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