Managing Test Anxiety

December 1, 2017

 

 

As most students who have attended high school past and present know, various assortments of testing, college applications, and academics can be stressful for even the brightest pupils to balance. While most of these stressors are manageable, large amounts of students suffer from test anxiety to which there seems no cure. Anxiety is a fact of life and accompanies most things that are of significance; if you're anxious, use that to motivate yourself. Whether you are currently waist deep in stressful testing or will be in the future, these tips to manage test anxiety and test strategies will certainly be useful in getting you motivated and ready to tackle any upcoming test.

 

Exposure prior to the test

There are many reasons why the test taking environment can cause anxiety, including the environment, a time constraint, and difficult questions. In order to reduce some anxiety that stems from being unfamiliar with the testing try to expose yourself to these factors prior to the test. Whether this means doing practice problems, timing yourself, or taking a practice test at school, all will reassure you that you are prepared.

 

Attempt to add studying into your schedule

Hectic schedules can make it difficult to factor in ample amounts of time to study and practice what is featured on your upcoming test. As opposed to cramming, which is more time consuming at once, attempt to study deliberately for 20 minutes a day in the weeks leading up to your exam.

 

Positive Reinforcement

Come the day of the test, there is no longer time to prepare. Rather than focus on past failures, try to reassure yourself that your practice will pay off. This reinforcement can be as simple as reassuring yourself that you're well prepared or are capable of doing well.

 

Calming techniques

When you're anxious, it may be difficult to calm yourself, which is entirely understandable. To ease your mind and separate yourself from your upcoming stressors breathing techniques work well and are easy to do anywhere, in any amount of time. To perform said exercise, match the length of your inhale, hold, and finally exhalation. When you're just beginning, using a four count for each portion is attainable.

 

Arrive to the testing facility promptly and prepared

Although anxiety in relation to the outcome of your test is entirely natural, there are some sources of anxiety that can easily be avoided. On the day of your test, attempt to allow time so you aren't worried about being late and are able to calm your head prior to taking the test. For each test you take, be sure you are preparing yourself with all the materials allowed. Whether it is a calculator or a notecard, it is vital that you are utilizes and are aware of any material you can use.

 

Destress the night before

The night before a large test, try to calm your mind, eat well, and get a full night of rest. This will allow you to be fully recharged come the time of your test. If you're having trouble doing any of these things because of your anxiousness, clear your mind by watching a movie, reading, or spending time with family.

 

Focus on the bigger picture

From personal experience, I know it is difficult to put the outcome of your test into perspective, at times it may seem like your entire future is dependent on your performance. For most large exams, the consequences of performing poorly are resolvable. Although not ideal, retaking a test or a course is not life ending. Prior to the test, try to think about the worst thing that could happen if you fail the test, being realistic, of course, and use that to lighten your overall mentality when entering the test.

 

Write down why you feel anxious

Scientific studies have proven that students who write down their fears five to ten minutes before the test perform better than those who don't. This is because, as humans, we feel secure expressing our fears on a piece of paper, effectively allowing you to not focus on your fears.

 

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