Overcoming test anxiety

Test anxiety

Test anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced before, during, or after an examination because of concern, worry, or fear. Almost everyone experiences some anxiety. But some students find that anxiety interferes with their learning and test taking to such an extent that their grades are seriously affected.

What can be done about it?

Fortunately, there is a great deal that you can do to keep the anxiety from interfering with your performance. First, it's important to know that you don't have to eliminate it entirely. It helps to be "up" for exams. You just want to reduce the anxiety to a helpful level.

Self talk

Research shows that the self-talk of test-anxious students almost always tends to be negative and self-defeating:

"Everyone in this class is smarter and faster than I am."
"I always mess up on tests."
"These are trick questions."
"This is a flunk out course."

Become aware of what you say to yourself. Try writing your negative thoughts and then disputing each one with a positive statement. Start to encourage yourself as you would a friend. Repeating your positive statements to yourself will help reprogram your mind for success instead of for failure.

Other techniques

  • Try not to compare yourself with others.
  • Become an expert in learning what is going well and what you can do to improve. Collect data by keeping a journal.
  • Reward yourself after studying
  • Take care of yourself by eating well and getting enough sleep.