Test anxiety can creep up on anybody. It can make you feel overwhelmed and impact your performance on an exam. Severe test anxiety is a mental and physical reaction to the pressures of taking a test. It can include sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, and worst of all, loss of focus. If you are facing a test and know you struggle with anxiety, here are a few tips to help you feel cool and confident on the day of the exam.
When stress and anxiety are a daily struggle for you and you know exams almost always give you anxiety, you should get help. Talk to a school counselor or teacher to see what resources are available. Simply talking about your anxiety with a trained counselor can help you. Schools often also make special accommodations for students that struggle with test anxiety. You don’t have to battle anxiety alone. Your outcomes will be much better when you surround yourself with a team of caring adults.
For more mild anxiety, tools like visualization can help you stay calm and focused. According to an article by PSYCOM, Anxiety often arrises because of some past failure. A fear of a repeat performance can be so distracting and overwhelming that you can’t focus on the test. Before the day of the exam, visually walk through the exam. Imagine what it will feel like to go into the room and sit down at a desk. Visualize calmly taking the exam. Then, most importantly, visualize a successful score on the exam. This type of visualization can help boost your confidence and give you the sense that you are capable of preforming well. It may reduce thoughts of inadequacy and relieve fears of failure.
Mild anxiety commonly arrises because you suddenly realize you are not prepared for the test. A solid study plan including regular review, practice problems, and even a practice exam, will increase your confidence and give you the knowledge of the material you need to perform well. There will be no surprises and no fear of simply not knowing answers after you have diligently studied.
Time Magazine cites a study that found deep breathing can have an immediate calming effect on the brain. The study found that a particular set of nerves, in mice, that regulates breathing also has a connection to the “arousal center” of the brain. Deep breathing can actually help a brain calm down. When anxiety happens upon you suddenly, deep breathing can be a great quick fix that you can use in any exam room.
Anxiety doesn’t have to dominate your test scores. Try to identify where your anxiety is coming from, fear of failure, lack of preparation, or increased stress in daily life. Then, use the appropriate tools to combat anxiety so that you can be successful.