A common complaint of students is that they freeze up during tests, and the results of the test don’t reflect what they really know. Test anxiety can cover a spectrum from nervousness to physical responses such as vomiting. Test anxiety in the form of nervousness is common, and it would be rare for students not to have some anxiety.
If you are someone who believes that test anxiety is the reason you don’t do well on tests, you need to be honest with yourself. Is it a genuine test anxiety or did you simply not prepare enough. An honest answer is that most students who blame their poor test performance on anxiety didn’t prepare as they should have. The best strategy for dealing with test anxiety is to study more.
If you do have genuine test anxiety, there are some things you can do to overcome it:
- Answer all questions first that you are confident about. This builds confidence and helps you to relax.
- If you do feel panic setting in, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and try to imagine a time when you overcome your anxiety.
- Ignore those around you. Don’t panic because you sense that others seem to be racing through the test. Sit in the front if possible.
- Every fifteen minutes, put down your pencil, relax your hands, and stretch your legs. This will help relax your body.
- If you stumped on a question, move on. Don’t let one question add to your anxiety.
- Work at a steady pace. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have rush through the test.
- Prior to the test, listen to music that inspires you. Don’t discuss the upcoming test with classmates. This can only confuse you and hurt your confidence.
- Prior to the test, determine how much each question will effect the final grade in the class. In most cases, you will find the one question has a minimal effect on your final grade. This can help reduce the panic that might be created by a question you don’t know.
If you try the above strategies and they don’t seem to work, you may need added help, especially if you are having physical conditions as a result of the test. Most campuses have a counseling center where you can get help in confronting your test anxiety. .