Test Anxiety Strategies

Dyson counselor discusses test anxiety among students
Suffer from test anxiety? Don’t worry, we got you!

Tests, exams, and quizzes are intrinsic parts of the education system. However, they are not always the best tools to assess students because some of them suffer from stress associated with test-taking, which can lead to a poor performance that does not reflect their true learning abilities. If you are one of them and you are reading this article, then you are all set because today, I will share some tips (in chronological order) to help cope with these feelings.

1. Identify the Causes of Your Anxiety

Sit down and contemplate your genuine fear and how you developed it. Usually, test anxiety is heightened because of the challenging academic environment. 

2. Positive Thoughts Injection

Once you can name the reasons that account for your anxiety, you may realize that all of the thoughts that you are having are negative. The more you keep focusing on such distracting feelings, the more pressure you will experience, which will eventually cause disappointing results. 

If you think “I didn’t do well on the last test”, then it is good to try to mentally replace it with “It’s alright, I’ll ace the next one then”. For this to be honest, however, you have to put in work, not just mess around.

3. Planning & Preparation

Now, you are onto the most important step to do well on tests, which is to study. Hard. 

Your anxiety is likely to disappear if you are well-equipped with the knowledge that would be on the test. Repeated but efficient and dedicated practices prepare you for the tests and get rid of the anxiety. When the test date is assigned, immediately write it down on your calendar. Organizing test schedules will help you to create a customized study plan that prepares you mentally.  

As the test date gets closer, try timed practice tests to evaluate your knowledge and skills. Do not be discouraged when you make mistakes because you will know to avoid the same mistakes in the tests. 

4. Consulting Your Teacher

Another way to put your mind at ease when it comes to test preparation is to seek assistance from your teacher on the test subject. If you are so stressed out about taking a test that it seems to be out of your control, inform your teachers, tutors, or test consultants. They can come up with a plan that is suited to you on how to overcome your issues.

5. Arrive at the Test Location Early

Arriving at the test place 15-30 minutes before the start may sound useless, but trust me, you do not want to be late for such critical tests. Also, rushing to the site can amplify your anxiety. If the waiting time makes you anxious, do the habitual things you always do when facing a challenging problem. For me, it’s massaging my hands.

6. Read Questions Carefully

Your teachers probably remind you of this all the time: you have to read a question’s instructions thoroughly and carefully before tackling it, and reading it twice is encouraged if you have sufficient time. Also, reading questions will slow you down if you are panicked.

7. Applying Relaxation Techniques

If you have no clue how to answer a question after reading it and are panicking, then try some of the following relaxation techniques from Metropolitan Community College. For example:

Deep Breathing

  • Sit straight up in your chair.
  • Slowly inhale through your nose. First, fill the lower section of your lungs and work your way up to the upper part of your lungs.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds then exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Wait a few seconds and repeat the cycle

There are other techniques that you can use to reduce tension during a test. The techniques in the link embedded above are so simple that you may be doubtful of their effectiveness, but try them out. 

8. Reward Time

After finishing your test, pat yourself on the back and compliment yourself. Maybe even a movie night! You deserve a little break to declutter your mind before digging deep into studying again.

It is normal to suffer from test anxiety. Start taking steps to overcome it today. Despite being a long and exhausting process, you can pick up several useful skills that will be valuable in the long run like optimistic thoughts, pressure management, and learning from mistakes.


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