Have you ever caught a cold before a midterm test? A slight headache on the last night before an exam? Maybe even a feeling of nausea as soon as you see the question paper? Ever wondered why you get sick just at the time when you need your brains and body working at full speed. Does it not just feel that the entire universe is plotting against you, or is it just you?

Yes, it is and always has been you. You were the one who made yourself fall sick. The phenomenon is called somatoform disorder. Somatoform refers to a group of disorders in which psychological factors may or may not influence the physiology of the human body sometimes even creating the misbelief that one is ill. Specifically you suffer from somatoform disorder which is the weakening of the immune system due to stress. Increased stress causes excessive release of cortisol, a hormone which acts on the nervous system and engages the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is a state in which blood is directed from all life sustaining organ systems to the muscles as to prepare the body for fight or flight response. This however does little good as immune functioning decreases considerably during the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, increasing our chances to be afflicted with common colds and the like.

So if you want to avoid falling sick right in the middle of your exam preparations, I suggest you follow my advice. Prepare in advance for the exam, do not leave the preparation for the exam leaves. They are for revision and not for learning material. Use simple mnemonic devices like mind maps and acronyms. Eat healthy and sleep on time. Most importantly, do not panic!

It is an exam, not the end of the world.

Advertisements