Anxiety is nothing but our body’s natural response to danger. Test
anxiety is a psychological condition in which the test taker experiences
severe distress and anxiety when thinking about or taking an exam.
Whenever we feel threatened or being under pressure or may be facing
a stressful situation, our body senses an alarming feel that triggers
Coping with test anxiety
The pressure of studies and the expected results could trigger anxiety in
students called as test anxiety. Although test anxiety is a common symptom, it doesn’t do
any good if it crosses a certain level. When the anxiety turns out to be negative, it weakens our abilities.
So, before the things get worse, the techniques for coping with test anxiety should be known.
Before the test
Most people suffer some degree of anxiety when preparing for a test.
The levels of this test anxiety could range from a mild nervous feeling to
a full panic attack. It is very important to reduce the level of anxiety to
study effectively for a test. Fortunately, there are several steps you can
take to reduce anxiety, which will benefit your grades and your overall
Do not wait till the last minute
Leave yourself plenty of time for studying. Waiting until the night
before a test to start studying is a good way only to increase your
anxiety. You feel overwhelmed, and you won’t be able to focus on
studying. Instead of waiting until the last minute, start studying as soon
as a test is scheduled. Preparing since several days makes you feel more
relaxed because you have plenty of time to learn the material, slowly.
Schedule your time
Draw up a schedule to make most of your study time. Set aside as much
time as you feel you need; it could be 20 minutes a day, it could be 2
hours a day. After studying for a few days, feel comfortable to adjust
this time if you feel the need for more or less time. Stick to this
schedule so when it comes time for the test, you know you’ve prepared
as well as possible.
Look over the notes every day
You should also get into the habit of looking over your notes from class
every day. Statistically, students who do this get better grades on tests
because the brain engrosses information more efficiently this way. It
can help with your anxiety because you’ll have a head start on your
studying before you even knew a test was coming up.
Being disorganized can make anxiety much worse. To avoid this
problem, keep all of your notes schoolwork neat and organized.
Organizing everything lets you to find everything you need and spend
the maximum amount of time studying.
Don’t study the last minute before the exam
You’ll find that studying right up until the last minute hurts more than it
helps. In the last few minutes before an exam, you can’t learn anything
new and you’ll mix up what’s already in your long-term memory. Relax
you’ve studied as best you can. Give yourself only calming, positive
messages before the exam.
Take proper breaks
Break refreshes your energy to do more. Studying 24/7 will wreck you
long before the actual exam commences. It’s a better idea to divide the
day into three periods of 150 minutes each and revise for two of them.
When you are not revising, get well away from your desk. Plan one day
a week to be completely free of revision. Try going for a walk, taking a
nap, drink some water whatever you have to do. This will rest your
brain and you can come back to your studies refreshed and ready to
continue. Domestic chores are really useful. Get the support of your
friends or your family. Be cool.
Plan your revision
Set aside plenty of time for revision. Go through your notes, essays and
reports and focus on essential material. Rehearse questions you might
expect in your exams. The Library will have copies of previous exam
papers. Go through them to get an idea on what portion is being mostly
covered and make sure that you didn’t leave a topic uncovered in all
those chapters. Don’t sit reading for long periods. It quickly becomes
boring and your concentration will start to wander.
Panic the night before
You’re relaxed during the revision period but Panic sets in the night
before, or on the day of the exam, but you can cope once you’re in the
exam room. Learn in advance how to relax; try different things like
watching a good movie, reading a comic or magazine, or remembering
your favourite jokes. Gain control on yourself, on how to come back
from the unwanted thoughts. Then you will feel confident and if you
panic, or your mind goes blank, you can regain control. Try using
humour to beat the negative thoughts. Do your best to be well
Go on time or early for the test
It’s sure that getting to the test late will make you feel anxious before
you even start the test. Do everything you can to be in time for the test.
That way, you can sit down and relax for a few minutes before starting.
You’ll be able to gather your thoughts and focus on positive thinking.
This relaxation period before the test is very important to getting off to
a good start.
Don’t go into the classroom until the exam begins
Often, while you’re waiting you’ll hear other students predicting about
what might be covered. Although it’s a good study strategy to
brainstorm with others in the days before the test, at this point
listening to all these assumptions may only demoralize your confidence.
You’ve planned your attack and it’s a good one, no matter how much it
differs from others’. Try to maintain a positive attitude while preparing
for the test and during the test.
Keep your mind in a relaxed state to make it function well. In case you
start to get nervous, take a few deep breaths slowly to relax yourself
and then get back to work. Also, never worry about how fast others are
finishing or how many sheets are they filling up, just concentrate on
your own test. Everyone has to fight their own fight.
During the test
When you receive the test look it over, read the directions twice, and
then organize time efficiently. Write down important
equations/formulas, definitions, or facts on top of the page or in the
margins before beginning. To build confidence move onto easier
questions and if you feel confused by one, you can go back to answer
them at the end if you have time. Don’t rush through the test, but work
at a comfortable pace. Always focus on the question you’re working on
and let your mind wander to unnecessary activities around you. Use
some of the stress buster exercises during the test, such as deep
breathing and muscle relaxation. Get a drink of water and try to clear
your mind. Think about post-exam rewards for a minute as a way to
Manage your time
Keep checking your time so that you don’t spend much time on one
answer elaborating it while having less time for the others. Remember
that you should have enough time for your final answer. In case you run
of time, make a skeleton answer in note form. At least you have put
Panic during the exam
Sometimes when you just enter and take your seat in your exam hall,
you could develop panicking. Don’t worry. Make yourself comfortable.
Adjust your clothing. Take a few deep breaths and sighs to reduce
tension. Sit with your eyes closed for a little while. Then only turn over
the exam paper. Most people feel tense at this point. But, whatever is
your state of preparation, your task now is to do your best.
After the test
Forget about the test. It’s all over. Go home and relax. Don’t talk to
others about what was on the exam. Asking questions such as “What
did you get for 3 rd sum?” will not help you or the other person.
Worrying if your answer was right, will only lead to test anxiety. There’s
no good in discussing a paper done. This could affect your mood on the
next paper. So, just stop worrying and treat yourself by spending some
time relaxation. After a couple of hours, try to list some factors that you
think improved your test taking and reduced your test anxiety. Don’t
worry if there are only a few to mention, it’s still a starting point that
will lead to success of overcoming your test anxiety.
These are the ways with which one can overcome test anxiety. For
having some tips to reduce the test anxiety, read the article on Tips to
reduce test anxiety. In order to have an expert opinion on your anxiety
levels and the ways to control or prevent it from bothering you and to
have a psychological support so as to excel in your life, book an
appointment with our counselors today!!