Dealing with post-exam angst as a medical student

— 8 min read

Exams are one big scary monster!

While exams do help students to keep a steady focus on their studies, they can be extremely stressful at the same time. Exam anxieties go a long way in a student’s academic career, specifically in fields where students constantly find themselves in intense pressure to excel.

Even once you have finished, until the results come out, there is always fear and anxiety in the corner of your heart about what will happen. It is normal to feel some level of anxiety and stress after you have completed your exam; the challenge is to manage the level of anxiety and focus on what’s on hand rather than worrying about the future event. Therefore, it is essential to control your thought process, as there is no way you can go back and change anything you have put in your exams.

It is easy to assume the worst once uncertainty hits you hard, but if it is already out of your control – why let it control your peace of mind and compromise your mental health?

So what is left to do immediately after the exam? Check out these dos and don’ts!

DO leave your exam thoughts in the exam hall
Once you leave your examination hall or close your online examination module, it is advisable not to think of what you did and did not during the exam. The train has already left the platform, there is nothing you can do about it. So, the first step to keep post-exams anxieties at bay is to try and not let them bother your thoughts.

DO NOT start dissecting exam paper
Other students may start dissecting the exam paper immediately after they have come out of the exam hall and compare the answers with their peers to make sure what they have written is correct. It will only make you feel worse if you start analysing and find what you have done isn’t right or if it is not the best answer. There is always room for improvement and there is always a better way you could have answered the question, so revisiting those will make you concentrate on the ones you feel you made a mistake on, shadowing the ones you aced!

Don’t revisit notebook and textbook to validate your answers
What is done is done and there is no changing it. So, finding answers to make sure what you have done is correct doesn’t make sense. When a full study load worth of time and relentless practice is judged under a strictly constricted time of 2 to 4 hours, anyone can succumb to the pressure that builds up naturally and tends to relinquish in the aftermath.

When the nature of examination itself is judgmental, it is apparent that students also judge themselves after the fact. Hence, it is significant that we acknowledge the normalcy of post-exam anxiety. It is really important to break the thought process, so maybe go for a run or watch a movie and do something rewarding to break this pattern of thoughts and take your mind out of the exam.

Here is a list of positive things you can do after your exam:

  • Pack all your books and notebooks and put them away where you can’t see them. Do not let them sit on your study desk to remind you of your anxiety;
  • Watch movies, your favorite TV shows, and documentaries. It’s so easy to get on-demand content, any time these days;
  • Catch up with friends and family;
  • Chat with friends about anything but the exam;
  • Do yoga, pilates, meditate, play video games; whatever works for you that will take your mind some place else; and
  • Understand you can only control what is coming up next. Don’t ruin your upcoming success by worrying too much about what you did.

Post-exam time is the perfect opportunity to do what you love and there are so many fun options. You can bask in the glory of your favorite recreational activity. Whatever you’re into, it’ll be better than spending your time worrying about something that MAY be and missing out on a lot of fun. Always remember – your success is not subjective to solely passing exams!

Disclaimer: * The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.