Test Anxiety and How to Beat it

Hi, my name is Ania and I’m a  student in Year 9. I’m going to take exams in core school subjects at the end of the school year and I can’t but feel nervous about that.  I’m sure my problem is common among teenagers. So let’s speak about test anxiety and the ways to beat it.

You’ve participated in class, done all of your homework and have studied hard. The day of the test comes and suddenly, you feel so nervous that you can’t answer the questions you knew last night. Many people experience stress or anxiety before an exam. In fact, a little nervousness can actually help you perform your best. However, when this distress becomes so excessive that it actually interferes with performance on an exam, it is known as test anxiety.

What is test anxiety?

Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety – a feeling one might have when performance is really important. For example, a person might get it when they are to perform on stage or go into an important interview.

Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations. People can become so anxious that they are actually unable to do their best.

Physical symptoms of test anxiety include sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting, and nausea. Milder cases of test anxiety can cause a sense of “butterflies” in the stomach, while more severe cases can actually cause students to become physically ill.

Cognitive and behavioral symptoms can include fidgeting or outright avoidance of testing situations.

Emotional symptoms of test anxiety can include depression, low self-esteem, anger, and a feeling of hopelessness.

The causes of test anxiety include:

  • Bad experience (you have done poorly on tests before)
  • Poor knowledge (you didn’t study or didn’t study well enough)
  • Being afraid of failure (you connect your sense of self-worth to your test scores)

What Can You Do?

  • Study well before a test. That means studying for the test early until you feel comfortable with the material. Don’t wait until the night before. If you aren’t sure how to study, ask your teacher or parent for help. Being prepared will boost your confidence, which will lessen your test anxiety. Use a little stress to your advantage.  This way, you’ll keep your stress from getting out of control. After all, nobody feels stressed by the thought that they will do well on a test.
  • Banish the negative thoughts. If you start to have anxious or defeated thoughts, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I didn’t study hard enough,” or “I can’t do this,” push those thoughts away and replace them with positive thoughts. “I can do this,” “I know the material,” and “I studied hard,” can go far in helping to manage your stress level when taking a test.
  • Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep will help your concentration and memory.
  • Take deep breaths. If you start to feel anxious while you’re taking your test, breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Work through each question or problem one at a time, taking a deep breath in between each one as needed. Making sure you are giving your lungs plenty of oxygen can help your focus and sense of calm. Take care of yourself. It can help to learn ways to calm yourself down when you are tense or anxious. Learn a simple breathing exercise and practice it regularly, which will help your body relax.
  • Avoid the perfectionist trap. Don’t expect to be perfect. We all make mistakes and that’s okay. Knowing you’ve done your best and worked hard is really all that matters, not perfection. Accept mistakes. This is especially important if you’re a perfectionist. Everyone makes mistakes, so you must learn to tolerate them. This is a valuable skill.

Everything takes time and practice, and learning to beat test anxiety is no different, so don’t give up!

Based on: https://www.verywellmind.com/