Do You View Test-Taking As A Stressful Situation?
Do You Dread It? You May Have “Test Anxiety” – Sound Familiar?
Almost everyone experiences test anxiety at some point. Did you know that a certain amount of stress and anxiety can be helpful to your performance? It’s normal to feel a little nervous and a little tension can give you just enough adrenaline to sharpen your awareness and even recall information you may not have otherwise remembered.
For those who experience too much test anxiety, it is not uncommon to have difficulty sleeping the night before a test. Some people feel physically ill while testing, or have difficulty staying focused. In its extreme form, one of the more commonly experienced negative effects of test anxiety during a test is completely blanking out, followed by panic setting in! It can feel as though you have no control.
The good news is that test anxiety can be managed. Sometimes, you can even turn that general stress into motivation. So how do you get from the panic to the motivation and better test performance?
The truth is, before you experience any of the symptoms of test anxiety, you had a thought that set the wheels in motion. The thought might have been something like “Oh man, I didn’t study enough, I’m never going to pass this.” or “I just don’t test well.” Perhaps you tend to look around and imagine that the other students are finishing faster and must know the material better.
Do you see the general pattern? It’s all negative self-talk. It can be helpful to take a moment and try to identify what kinds of conversations you have with yourself regarding test-taking. If you recognize that you tend to say unkind or worrisome things to yourself, make a conscious decision to replace those thoughts with more realistic and rational ones.
Some basic things can help you reduce test anxiety, such as eating a good breakfast the day of your test and dressing in comfortable clothing. If the test is a classroom test, being well-prepared is crucial. If the test is an assessment, such as a college placement test, familiarize yourself with the format of the test and the material it will cover. For any of the tests we offer, check out the links for study guides and practice questions. Making the situation feel more like the “known” vs. the “unknown” can significantly reduce your anxiety.
Keep your perspective. It’s important that you care about it, prepare, and do your best, but remember that it is a test. It is not a reflection of you as a person. It is not a predictor of your overall success in life. It is simply a snapshot of how well you have mastered material and provides information for where to go next.
If you feel you have a serious issue with test anxiety, please feel free to contact the Testing Center coordinator at 863-784-7114.