Have you ever frozen while taking a test? Have you answered questions incorrectly even when you knew the right answers? Have you gotten extreme tension before and during an exam?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it is likely that you have experienced test anxiety at some point in your life. Some symptoms other than tension can include nervousness, fear, dread, irritability, sense of hopelessness, and boredom. During an exam, symptoms can also include confusion, panic, mental blocks, fainting, sweaty palms or nausea. When you are finished with the test, you can experience another set of symptoms like guilt (Why didn’t I study more), anger (The teacher made that too hard on purpose), mock indifference (I didn’t even try because I really don’t care), blame (If the teacher taught better, I would have done better) and depression (I don’t see why I even try)
One of the most common causes of test anxiety is not feeling prepared for the test, and you have to take a test over material that you don’t really know well. The first thing to try when dealing with test anxiety is to start preparing for a test well in advance. Make the necessary prep materials like study guides and note cards, and give yourself two or three days to review the material instead of trying to do everything the night before the exam. If you are stuck on a concept, seek help from a teacher, classmate, or someone who can help explain it to you.
But what about when you’ve prepared well, you know the material inside and out, and you STILL experience test anxiety? Then it’s time to try some other methods to conquer the anxiety. It’s important to know that test anxiety has two components, mental and physical. The mental piece includes your thoughts and worries about the test, and the physical piece includes your feelings, tensions, and sensations. The following techniques will help you deal with test anxiety, and you will find that you can also apply these to other times when you are feeling anxious as well.