How to Overcome Exam Anxiety? Learn to Rely on God
By Xiao Huan
The high school entrance examination in 2012 was the first turning point in my life. My family had high expectations for me, and I confidently thought that I could get into high school. But I failed, and became very depressed. After that, I was unable to get over the failure for a very long time. Afterward, my mother realized that I was living in mental pain every day, so she read some of God’s words to me, “I am well acquainted with the thoughts of man’s mind and the wishes of man’s heart: Who has never looked for a way out for themselves? Who has never thought of their own prospects? Yet even though man is possessed of a rich and prismatic intellect, who was able to predict that, following the ages, the present would turn out as it has? Is this really the fruit of your own subjective efforts? Is this the payment for your tireless industry? Is this the beautiful tableau envisaged by your mind? If I did not guide all mankind, who would be able to separate themselves from My arrangements and find another way out? Is it the thoughts and wishes of man that have brought him to today? Many people go their whole lives without having their wishes fulfilled. Is this really because of a fault in their thinking? Many people’s lives are filled with unexpected happiness and satisfaction. Is this really because they expect too little? Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose birth and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate?” Through God’s words I came to know that God orchestrates and arranges the fate of us humans. We cannot foresee what rough and bumpy paths we will walk and what setbacks we will experience. From the outside, it seems unfortunate that I failed my exams, but from God’s perspective it had His good intentions in it. Under the leadership of God’s words, I was able to obey God gradually and walk away from my pain. When I had no illusions about my future and fate and was willing to submit to God’s arrangements, I gained admittance to nursing school. My whole family was overjoyed. I felt that God was by my side and could help me at any time. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart.
In the blink of an eye, five years of nursing school passed. I was going to face the second turning point in my life—the nurse certificate examinations. This certificate was particularly important to me, as it proved I’d studied nursing. Without it, I couldn’t do any jobs related to nursing, meaning my five years of studying would have been wasted. I particularly thought of my father, who worked from dawn to dusk to provide for my tuition, and how it would disappoint him so much if I couldn’t get the certificate. For the sake of my own future and face, and to not let my parents down, I desperately wanted to get the certificate, and therefore I was under great pressure. As the exam day approached, I got more and more nervous. Every day I spent hours imagining life after the exam: If I made it, I would look so great in the nurse’s uniform; but what if I failed? How would my family and friends see me? How would I survive in society without a certificate? …
The nervousness before the exam almost suffocated me, so I went to talk to my mother. She said, “Your nervousness is caused by your ignorance of God’s sovereignty. All of our fates are subject to God’s sovereignty. All we can do is to submit to His orchestrations and arrangements.” Then she asked me to read a passage of God’s words, “The life of man is entirely in God’s hands. Where a person can go and where he cannot go, what duty he may perform, where he lives every day, where he will live during what years, what else he will go do and for how many years, and at what points he will change life direction—all these things have been appointed by God in advance” (“A Person Can Live Life With Dignity Only by Submitting to and Revering God”). It is so true. God has already predestined my fate. If being a nurse is not decreed by fate, then no matter how hard I work for it, I will never be able to succeed. I’m just a created being, so I should submit to the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. Afterward, my mother fellowshiped with me a lot, and I realized that whether I would have a bright future ahead of me or not would not be determined by the results of that exam, but by God’s arrangements. Therefore, I came before God and prayed, “O God, I’m about to take the nursing exam and I’m not sure if I can make it. I wish for you to guide me. If I don’t make it, please protect me so that I will not blame You and will still submit to Your sovereignty.”
However, I still had butterflies in my stomach, so I told God about all my difficulties and whatever was in my heart. Afterward, I read a passage of God’s words, “Regardless of how many truths people understand, … no matter how great or small their stature is or what their personal environment is like, something that they cannot be without is looking to God and relying on God in all things; this is the greatest wisdom. … Sometimes, looking to God doesn’t mean asking God to do something using specific words, or asking Him for specific guidance or protection. Rather, it is that when people encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely. So, what is God doing there when people call on Him? When someone’s heart stirs and they have this thought: ‘Oh God, I can’t do this myself, I don’t know how to do it, and I feel weak and negative,’ does God know about it? When these thoughts arise in people, are their hearts sincere? When they call on God sincerely in this way, does God assent to help them? Despite the fact that they may not have spoken a word, they show sincerity, and so God assents to help them” (“Believers First Need to See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). That is true. Nothing is impossible for God and everything is controlled by His hands. Since I, I should learn to rely on and look upon God in everything, because this is the greatest wisdom. I have God as my support, so there is nothing to be afraid of. I always said I was a believer in God, but I did not rely on God truly in my heart. That was the reason why I was so nervous when facing real difficulties. I realized that I was truly lacking a real conscience. After that, I prayed to God submissively and my heart gradually calmed down.
In a flash, it was the day of the examination. In the morning, my mother reminded me not to forget to rely on God. On the way to the examination hall, I was still very nervous, so I prayed to God repeatedly in my heart, “O God, I have no idea what will happen today, nor do I know if my exam will be difficult or if the questions will be what I have reviewed. O God, I’m willing to rely on You.” Meanwhile, my father said with surprise, “It is so strange: all the traffic lights we went through were green.” I realized that all the green lights were because of God’s guidance and arrangements. God was using silent messages to tell me that I was not alone and had Him by my side.
When I entered the examination hall, my heart was very calm, because I knew that the exam results were determined by God and had already been predestined and arranged by God. All I needed to do was to submit to His arrangements, to rely on Him and ask Him to calm my heart when I was feeling nervous. Before the start of the exam, I called out to God again. The more I prayed, the calmer I felt in my heart. When doing the exam, I also prayed to God, asking Him to protect my heart so that I wouldn’t panic when faced with difficult questions. During the entire exam, it was God’s protection that made me very calm and able to think carefully. I was not nervous at all. After the exam, my classmates all said that the exam was difficult, but I felt otherwise because I’d been under God’s guidance. This was all God’s grace and blessings for me.
Afterward, while waiting for the results, I often felt anxious and uneasy. Every time I felt that way, I would pray to God in my heart and remember that whether the results were good or bad it was arranged by God’s wisdom. When I thought of that, I would not feel so uneasy. Time flew by, two months passed, and the exam results were finally posted online. Before checking my results, I prayed to God submissively, asking Him to lead me to obey Him no matter what the results were.
Before clicking open the transcript, I gathered my courage and took a deep breath. Then I saw my results for the two subjects were 351 and 331 points, which were 51 and 31 points higher than the cutoff point respectively. I thought, “Thank God so much! I passed! I can get my nursing certificate!” At that moment, I couldn’t express how happy I was in my heart. I offered God gratitude and praise unceasingly and I knew that it was not because of my own effort, but because of God’s grace and blessings.
After this personal experience, I realized what we can do to ease the tension before exams. Firstly, we should not set a very high target for ourselves, but submit to the fate that God has arranged for us with a heart that seeks.
Secondly, we must pray to God sincerely, and with God’s words accompanying us we will feel very peaceful and will be able to face anything boldly.
When I prayed to God and looked up to God, I could feel that God was by my side leading me in everything, and that made my heart peaceful and steadfast. Thank God for helping me to ease my tension before the exam and to pass my exams easily.