Overcoming test anxiety
Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety affects begins to impact exam performance it has become a problem.
Primary causes of test anxiety
- Fear of failure
- Lack of preparation
- Poor test history.
Cognitive symptoms of test anxiety
- Mental “blank-out,”
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Preoccupation with failure
- Recalling answers after the test.
Prepare for the test
- Avoid cramming: create a study schedule two weeks prior to the exam.
- Use study aids: convert lecture notes into flashcards or a study guide.
- Take timed practice exams: simulate exam conditions by taking timed practice exams. Create your own exam if necessary.
- Study on location: study in the classroom where the exam will be held.
Develop test-taking skills
- Read directions carefully.
- Multiple choice: incorrect answers can distract you. Cover the choices, read the question and then try to answer it without look at the options.
- Essay questions: create a quick outline before writing.
- Answer what you know: Save difficult items for last.
- Get 8-10 hours of sleep before the exam.
- Limit caffeine: caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of test anxiety!
- Practice deep breathing: if you feel anxious or begin to panic, slowly take deep breaths through your nose.
- Fidget item: small items like a stress ball or rubber band can help increase attention and promote relaxation.