Written by Erika Yang:
As the exam date draws near, we all know something else tags along: Anxiety. How do you deal with anxiety before your exam? A little bit of anxiety helps you to press on, but if it becomes too much of an ‘attack’, it will impact you negatively.
The uncertainty of what to expect from the actual exam, lack of confidence and exam preparations that exhaust you in and out as well as the exam itself – can all ‘accumulate’ the anxiety in you and turn the exam into something so daunting.
How can we use our anxiety to benefit us instead? Whenever you feel frustrated or anxious during your study time, STOP for a while. It is time for you to refresh your mind. Find something that will distract you for a short while. Something that will not take up too much time, but long enough to refresh your mind — try something sweet! Bake chocolate chip cookies, for example.
When studying for my FM exam, I was stuck on one problem for a ridiculous amount of time. Finally, I decided to put it aside for a while and simply bake my favorite treat! It did not take much time until I was able to recalibrate my mind from the problem and start fresh (along with yummy treats, which was a plus).
The uncertainty of the exam is another reason to be anxious about the whole process of studying. Personally, I did not want to step into the test center unless I was ready. In order to maximize your confidence level when studying and taking the exam, it’s important to know where you stand right now. How far are you in preparing for your exam? Is there any chapter you feel confident/unsure of? Knowing where you stand benefits you in such a way that you will know what next steps you should take to better prepare for your exam.
Solving lots of actuarial questions also helps you boost your confidence level. Get yourself exposed to different types of questions as often as you can. That way, you will be ready and not afraid of the type of questions the SOA might throw at you, because you will have gone through them all! Adapt does a very good job in giving you various different types of questions. It has prepared me so well. The types of questions I encountered in my actual exams did not surprise me. When you are confident, anxiety cannot reside in you.
Lastly, it is important that you admit and acknowledge that these feelings are perfectly normal for you to have before exams. Know that you are never alone in this! All of us have been there and are still going through it in the same boat as you.