Many people suffer from test taking anxiety. This has nothing to do with not being smart, or even not being prepared. Many whom have studied for tests beforehand, and are technically “ready” for the test, can still suffer from test anxiety. There are a lot of test anxiety tips available that can help with this particular problem and make test taking less of a terror filled prospect.
Symptoms of Test Anxiety
Below are some of the common symptoms of test anxiety. These symptoms usually surface right before taking the test, but can some may even notice that they have these symptoms the night before or even a few days before the actual test time.
- An increase in heart rate
- Feeling Jittery
- Shallow breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Shaking or trembling
- Problems eating and sleeping
- Upset stomach
Some or all of these symptoms may be present at one time. The reason this happens is that the mind perceives the test or exam as a threat and then the body responds to it as such with the above symptoms. This is also known as the fight or flight response. The most common fear of tests has to do with failing or performing badly, but the reasons can go much deeper and can include fear of disappointing parents, teachers or other important people in the test taker’s life. The fears could be real or imagined.
Test Anxiety Tips That Work
Tip # 1 – One of the most effective ways to combat test anxiety is to have a plan in place to prepare for the test. Preparation is one of the key factors in feeling out of control and unorganized. In most cases, the date of the test is known at least two weeks in advance, if not longer. This gives ample time to map out a plan to prepare that will reduce that feeling of not having enough study time beforehand.
Tip # 2 – Even if the test is on a subject that the taker feels confident about, planning to spend a certain amount of time each day reviewing will reduce the chances of a text anxiety flare to occur. Waiting until the night before and then trying to cram weeks’ worth of notes into a single night is asking for an attack of nerves that will affect the test performance.
Tip # 3 – If adhering to a set schedule is a problem, the timer should be set for a specific amount of time and studying should be done until the timer goes off. Start with something manageable, like 15-20 minutes at a time and build from there.
Tip # 4 – Distractions can be a problem when it comes to properly preparing for a test, so finding a quiet place to study is paramount. Trying to study in the middle of chaos, activity or noise, such as listening to music using or college headphone or the dorm TV will serve no purpose and more than likely, will result in ineffective retention of the information being studied.
Tip # 5 – If a study exam is legally available for the test being taken, download or purchase it well before time to take the test. In most cases these guides are filled with sample test questions, an outline, and even a practice exam. It is worth the money to get and will help alleviate the worry of not having any idea what will be on the test.
In addition to employing the five steps above, being sure to get plenty of rest in the days before the test and making sure that proper nutrition is followed, the body will be physically as well as mentally ready for the task at hand.