Exam fever is a term one uses to refer to the gamut of emotions you experience when faced with an examination. This exam stress causes you to experience anxiety and depression and loss of control all at once. This can have a strong impact on your ability to prepare for your assignments and exams, as well as negatively affect your levels of performance and sense of well-being in general. The most common feature of exam stress is fear. Fear causes the release of adrenalin in the brain. This pushes the brain into a ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. This means that your brain then concentrates of defending itself from physical dangers. In order to do this, the blood rushes into your limbs and prepares you for a physical tackle, and not the brain where it is actually required. While it prepares for combat, if the need arises, it may also instruct the body for ‘flight’. This doesn’t mean you can fly. It means you need to escape from the perceived physical dangers and so the blood rush to the limbs once again makes sense. Why does it keep perceiving physical dangers, you may ask. Well, it’s one of our most primitive senses taking over. Go back to ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ and it’ll fall into place for you.
Your brain translates to stress in its most basic sense. More specifically in the brain, the stress response induces alterations in cellular excitability as well as synaptic and neuronal plasticity. This in turn hampers the cognitive abilities and adaptability of the brain. This also discontinues the ability to learn, comprehend and recall previously learned information. This can often leave you feeling lost, irritable, in deep distress, and even forgetful. This is the cause of careless mistakes, and not being able to follow up well on a topic that you may otherwise be well versed in.
As a coping mechanism, one may push positive thoughts over the edge. Assuming that all will be well and that nothing can possibly go wrong. This gives birth to overconfidence, which has its own repercussions.