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May 01, 2017 07:52 AM EDT

For students who are anxious about an upcoming exam, reading supportive comments and reactions from peers on social media can actually help them overcome anxiety. This is based on the recent study by a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

According to the research, reading positive comments and "likes" from social media friends help students reduce their feelings of test anxiety, Science Daily reported. If they are also able to read messages before the exam, their anxiety levels can be reduced by 21 percent and can significantly improve their scores.

Lead author Robert Deloatch, a graduate student in computer science at the university, said that the students who used to have higher levels of anxiety were able to perform just the same as the students who had low anxiety levels after they have received support in the social media in the form of likes, comments or private messages, according to Psych Central. They have also shown an increase in the performance during a stimulated exam.

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Deloatch said that using social support might be very helpful not just in education, but also in other situations and circumstances where people experience state-of-the-moment anxiety. Examples are durig job interview where applicants have to deal with the anxiety before they face and talk to their potential employers.

He also added that while students who asked or requested for social support online felt that it was helpful, they also felt that soliciting this kind of support from their social media friends were a bit uncomfortable and out of place. That is because the students who were subject to the study were computer science students, who are more concerned of how other people will perceive them given the kind of competitive environment of the curriculum.

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