Exam fear: why students go blank during tests

Jared Cooney Horvath explains the hormonal release behind mind-blanks and how to deal with them

Why do students go blank during exams?

One moment, thinking is clear and easy. The next, everything is gone. Your heart beats fast, your skin gets clammy, you struggle to remember something … anything … but the harder you fight the further away salvation feels.

During typical learning, when the environment and expectations are predictable, students will largely be engaged in cold-cognition.

Mediated by the prefrontal cortex (which coordinates a number of important cognitive processes, including working memory, behavioural inhibition and task-switching) and the hippocampus (a brain structure that orchestrates the formation of new ...

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