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How to manage FMGE Exam Stress?

  • Exam stress one of the key factors that determine your accuracy & confidence in decision-making while choosing the best option in the FMGE MCQ.
  • It’s estimated that more than 70% of the FMGE aspirants struggle when it comes to “How to manage FMGE Exam Stress?”

Educational self-efficacy: “the extent to which students believe that they can control the outcomes of their attempts at learning”

Causes of transitory FMGE/exam anxiety:

  • Engaging in any activities that imply evaluation can result in performance anxiety (healthy exam anxiety is good for the performance called the Eustress).
  • Little anxiety can be a productive motivator, but too much-unrelieved anxiety can lead to stress (distress).

Causes of FMGE/exam stress: Poor study habits, poor past test performance, and an underlying anxiety problem can all contribute to test anxiety.

Yerkes-Dodson Law
  • Yerkes-Dodson Law suggests that there is a relationship between performance or arousal & first described in 1908 by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson.
  • Based on the research on the motivation of rats to complete a maze by electric shock. 
Yerkes Dodson Law How to manage FMGE Exam Stress?

Biological Causes: some people are sensitive to the adrenaline rush of the normal “fight-or-flight” response.

Mental Causes: Student expectations are one the major mental factors (will fail/pass), confidence, fear of failure &, etc (Poor study habits & history of poor testing outcomes will be an aggravating factor).

Signs of stress:

  • Subtle stress response: At times signs of stress  might be less consciously  noticeable when you may feel fatigued or out of sorts or sense of “butterflies” in the stomach
  • When you least expect to lose control, you may find yourself snapping at friends or becoming generally irritable.
Physical SymptomsEmotional symptomsCognitive and behavioral symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dry mouth
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Distress
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Fidgeting
  • Outright avoidance of testing situations
  • Forgetfulness
  • Self-doubt
  • Negative self-talk

Consequences:

  1. Your circulatory system responds slowly, your sense of well-being is compromised, and your capacity for learning & concentration is diminished→feel helpless →poor test performance.
  2. Vicious cycle: test anxiety→feel helpless→poor performance→apprehension→more anxiety
  3. Can lead to harmful habits: under stress you may engage in such self-destructive behaviors as excesses of drinking, eating, smoking, and drug use.

Stress Reduction Techniques during FMGE preparation:

Structured Preparation for FMGE/MCI exam:

  • Organize yourself for an effective & systematic preparation
  • Avoid the perfectionist trap: hard & smart work really matters, not perfection
  • Study smarter to boost your confidence
    • Know your personality & learning style to adopt a strategy
    • Comprehend the insights of the exam you face
    • Plan & schedule your preparation accordingly
  • Schedule time to relax: tell yourself that you deserve to take the guilt-free break.
  • Familiarize with all aspects of the FMGE: Practice as many past exam papers & mocks as possible to nasty surprises (Less nasty surprises = less stress)
    • Lack of test practice & self-assessment during the FMGE preparation: Lack of acquaintance decreases accuracy and speed in the exam but increases Test anxiety.
  • Reward Yourself after the tests
  • Find a study skills supervisor

Read More about constructing a Smart Study Plan ↓


Visualize the FMGE/MCI Exam Process:

  • Imagine yourself at the exam for 1 min each day for a week before your exam (Anticipation & mental rehearsal decrease the stress & increase the confidence)
  • Imagine all that happens during the exam:  waiting outside → ID verification → security check → walking into the exam room → reading the directions & completing the filling of credentials → sitting good posture feeling confident and calm → Concentrating on your exam → answering the questions confidently →completing & coming out with satisfaction)

Read More about How to use the visualization ↓


Developing Positive thinking during the FMGE preparation:

  • learn to care for yourself & avoid negative thinking
  • Trust in your work & believe in your success:  that if you work through each subject day by day, and step by step, you will know enough to pass your exams.
  • Say your name  with the word “Doctor” in front of it  & Know that you are on the life path that will lead you to your professional goal
  • Convert your negative talk to positive ones
Negative talksPositive talks
“Difficult subjects & topics”“Challenging subjects & topics”
“I should have studied more”“I am prepared enough to crack this test”
“I’m stupid”“I am smart enough to do well”
“I flunked in the previous exam”“One bad test result does not mean that you can’t improve in the future”

Appropriate Diet  & hydration during the FMGE preparation:

  • Water: You should keep yourself hydrated and help your body function to be optimal.
  • Eat well-balanced meals at regular intervals:
    • At times of high stress, such as at exam time, students can frequently eat too much or skip meals (careful about your diet at these times)
    • According to multiple lines of research, however, the human brain tends to perform much better with a Carbohydrate/protein ratio that is closer to 1:1
  • Care with caffeine: more than three cups a day may cause stress responses.

Read More about What to eat during the FMGE preparation ↓


Sound Sleep during the FMGE preparation:

  • How much sleep do you need to function both comfortably and competently?
    • Statistically, 7 hours is the average amount of sleep that research subjects have reported they need.
    • However, the variation is considerable, ranging from three to eleven hours.
  • During your sleep, your brain starts mulling over all the things you learned that day. sorts through them, organizes them, considers them, calculates them, decides what’s important and what’s not.
    • This process changes the physical structure of brain cells so that specific pieces of knowledge are etched more permanently in memory.
    • In the neurology, these miraculous processes are referred to as consolidation.

Relaxation Techniques during the FMGE preparation:

A – Deep Breathing-relaxation technique:

  • While seated at your desk, while studying, or even during an exam, take a moment to notice your breathing.
  • To achieve relaxed breathing, here are the steps to assure a full inhalation and  exhalation:
    1. Place your hand on your abdomen.
    2. As you take a breath, allow your belly to expand so that your hand moves out with the air intake. You will feel fat, like a balloon filling up.
    3. Allow the air to remain inside for a slow count of eight. Feel the fullness.
    4. Then, as if the balloon has burst, let all the air out with an audible sigh.
      • Make sure that your body expels all of the air. Repeat this procedure for at least three  breaths
      • Breathe all of this in as you feel yourself relaxing.

B – Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)

  • Time Required: 10–15 minutes.
    1. Step 1:Get comfortable in a place that’s free of distraction.
    2. Step 2:Inhale deeply through your nose→ feel your abdomen rise as you fill your body with air →slowly exhale from your mouth →drawing your navel toward your spine (three to five times)
    3. Step 3:tighten and release your muscles→ start with your feet → Clench your toes and press toward the ground → Squeeze tightly for few breaths and then release→ Dorsiflex your feet for a few seconds
    4. Step 4:Continue your way up to your body→ tighten and release each muscle group → legs → buttocks→ abdomen→ back → hands → arms→ shoulders→neck→face
    5. Step 5:few more deep breaths→ noting how calm and relaxed you feel → the end

C – Guided imagery

  • Easy to practice: quickly calm your body and simultaneously relax your mind. It’s pleasant to practice, and not overly difficult or intimidating to learn.
    1. Get Comfortable into a relaxed position
    2. Deep Breathe From Your Belly: close your eyes & focus on your breathing.
    3. Vividly Imagine of a soothing scene: choose a “happy place” in your memory like serene beach scene → immerse yourself in sensory details → involve all of your senses → enjoy your ‘surroundings’→ stay here for as long as you like
      • Use synesthetics: use ambient sounds that compliment your experience.
  • Set an alarm: not to lose track of time or fall asleep.

D – Physical Exercise / Yoga / Meditation

  • Physical Exercise to keep up your body:
    • We all have learned the value of exercise as part of a stress-reduction plan.
    • One of the best ways of getting rid of tension is to work it out of your body with regular exercise
    • To reduce stressful muscle tension, make sure that you engage in an exercise routine that involves deep breathing and stretching.
    • Walking, running, swimming, dancing, yoga, stretching,  step climbing, or any other activity that involves your large muscles will revive and preserve your energy.
    • Promise yourself a daily period of exercise.
  • Yoga: Relaxation technique + breathing + stretching & exercise.
  • Super brain yoga: Relaxation technique + breathing + exercise + meditation & somatic stimulation.
  • Meditation: Any type of medication shall help to cope up with your stress.

Document10 How to manage FMGE Exam Stress?

References:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327845085_The_effectiveness_of_superbrain_yoga_on_concentration_memory_and_confidence_in_school_students
  2. Carver, C. S., and Scheier, M. F. (1982) Control theory: A useful conceptual framework for personality-social, clinical, and health psychology. Psychological Bulletin 92 pp 111-135
  3. Christopoulos, J. P., Rohwer, W. D., Jr., and Thomas, J. W. (1987) Grade level differences in students’ study activities as a function of course characteristics. Contemporary Educational Psychology 12, pp 303-323
  4. Perry, R. P. and Penner, K. S. (1990) Enhancing academic achievement in college students through attributional retraining and instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology 82 (2), pp 262-271
  5. Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J. R. and Snyder, S. S. (1982) Changing the world and changing the self: A two process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42, pp 5-37
  6. Seligman, M. E.P. (1975) Helplessness: On Depression, Development and Death. San Francisco: Freeman Shain, D. D., and Kelliher, G. J. (1988) A study skills workshop as an integral part of  orientation to medical school: The establishment of self-directed learning.
  7. Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference Research in Medical Education Chicago: Association of American Medical Colleges, pp 91-96
  8. Westfeldt, L. (1964) F. Matthias Alexander: The Man and His Work.Westport, CT: Associated Booksellers Wilhite, S. C. (1990) Self-efficacy, locus of control, self-assessment of memory ability, and study activities as predictors of college course achievement.  Journal of Educational Psychology 82 (4), pp 696-700
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