By Amy Andacich A global study of student welfare has found that Australian students top the list for exam anxiety. Murdoch’s Priyanka Sivabalan is among them. The University of Queensland study deemed that 6500 university students in their second, third or fourth year, and aged between 18 and 34, were distresssed by the prospect of exams. Miss Sivabalan, who is studying a double major in theatre and drama and English and creative writing, has spoken about her anxiety to raise awareness about the all-too common the condition. “I relate to people who suffer stress over exams, it is an uncontrollable feeling and if I could choose assignments over exams, I would any day,” the 21-year-old said. The third-year student says the stress of upcoming exams makes her physically sick and suffers all kinds of horrible symptoms. “Exams aren’t the best way to test what students know, because issues like anxiety are a massive problem which aren’t taken into consideration,” Priyanka said.People who experience anxiety usually suffer from many signs and symptoms — difficulty concentrating, restlessness, fast heartbeat, trembling or shaking, feeling faint, numb sensations, nausea, sweating and also can lead students into a state of depression. Health department counsellor Angela Overkov, 40, says exams are a main cause of stress. “There needs to be an overhaul of the structure used to actually judge how people are going in their course,” Angela says. “There should be different ways of doing exams, instead of the pressure of a 3 hour written exam which can be overwhelming and can seriously affect their ability to perform,” Angela continued. Anxiety results in feelings of worry or nervousness, usually about an upcoming event where the outcome is unknown like ‘exams’. Murdoch university’s website provides advice to lower exam stress: Get adequate sleep Be realistic in what you can and cannot do Overambitious goals are a frequent cause of stress Learn how to relax or meditate Physical exercise without overdoing it works wonders in helping to reduce stress.