So many things today are based on test results – careers, colleges, even the military. So what do you do if you have test anxiety? Don’t let your anxiety keep you back from what you want to do. Let’s learn what test anxiety is and how to cope if you deal with it.
Test anxiety affects about 16-20% of students in America. That means 1 out of every 5 students struggles on tests.
What is Test Anxiety?
So, what exactly is test anxiety? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety. It can be as mild as just a feeling of dread before a test to as paralyzing as a full-blown anxiety attack before a test begins.
There are three main causes of test anxiety:
- Fear of failure
- Lack of preparation
- Attributing personal worth to a test result
- Feeling helpless, like you have no control over the test result
Test Anxiety Tips
Unfortunately, tests are used constantly in all grades and levels of education. Learning how to cope with test anxiety is extremely necessary. Here are 5 test anxiety tips to help you take a test without freaking out.
If you experienced test anxiety in the past, being extra prepared can minimize symptoms by studying more and getting a good night’s sleep. When you know you studied all you can study and you took care of your health, give yourself a break. Relax and trust your mind to answer the questions the best that you can.
Focus on Calm Breathing
If you still feel your heart rate accelerate during the test, practice relaxation techniques like calm breathing. When you get the physical symptoms of anxiety under control, you are more likely to overcome it and recall the answers to the tests.
Have A Postive Mental Attitude
The Princeton Review has an excellent tip for testing time. “Bring a picture of your happy place or come up with a morale-boosting mantra like ‘I can do this’ or ‘I worked hard and deserve this.’ Peek at your picture or recite your mantra, right before the test begins.”
Improve Your Study Habits
When you know you didn’t study, guilt and stress will overtake your thoughts. You will be more likely to stress out if you know you there is no way you’ll know the answer.
Break up studying into smaller sessions and reassure yourself that you know the material before the test begins. Then, when the test starts, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you know this. You studied.
Set Your Own Expectations – Don’t Live Up To Others
What grade are you needing and why? You are the only one that knows how much of the material you understand. Don’t try to get a certain grade on the test that someone else expects you to get. When you set a realistic expectation of yourself, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
What is Writing Anxiety?
Now that you know what test anxiety is and how to cope with it, let’s look at the other thing that can keep you from success in school – writing anxiety.
Writing anxiety is also commonly called writer’s block. It is the stress someone feels when they sit down but can’t figure out what words to put on the page. Some people describe it as a complete loss of words or thoughts being completely blank.
How To Cope With Writing Anxiety or Writer’s Block
If you have writing anxiety/writer’s block there are a few very simple things you can do to overcome it. Since writer’s block can be caused by anxiety, some of these coping strategies are the same for dealing with test anxiety.
Take Care of Yourself
Are you sleeping enough? How are you eating? Low energy and a mind that is clear of fog will help your thoughts flow easier. Some writers with advanced skills claim having a deadline and no sleep actually powers thoughts faster. If you are having bad writer’s block, try taking a break and taking care of yourself.
If you are having bad writer’s block, try taking a break and taking care of yourself.
Break the Writing Into Small Steps
Begin your assignment by outlining it first. It’s amazing how much easier it is to write and put words on paper when you have a clear idea of what you are writing. Breaking the writing up into manageable chunks will also keep your mind focused on it without being overwhelmed.
Try Writing About Something Else
If you honestly can’t think of a single thing to write, take a break. Get away from the computer. Then, free write. Let the words flow. Don’t write about anything in particular. Getting all your thoughts out will decrease your anxiety because you are putting all your stress on the paper.
You are not alone! Test and writing anxiety affect tons of people every single day. These tips are vital and will help you overcome them and succeed in school.