It is common for students to experience feelings of anxiety leading up to or during an important exam. Perhaps you find that the uneasiness in your stomach or racing thoughts make it difficult to concentrate on the questions in front of you, which interferes with your test performance. In this article, we will discuss the signs of test anxiety, and some strategies that can help you to cope with what you are experiencing to improve your test performance and overall quality of life.
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Signs of Test Anxiety
While most students experience nervousness prior to an exam, others may have symptoms of anxiety that are more severe. A person with test anxiety may find that they feel ‘on edge’ leading up to a test, unable to control their feelings of worry. During the test, they might have a hard time concentrating or have their mind go completely blank, despite hours of preparation. It is also common for people with anxiety about tests to experience uncomfortable physical symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heartbeat, breathing difficulties, headache, nausea, or gastrointestinal discomfort.
5 Tips for Managing Test Anxiety
Let’s discuss some strategies for helping you to cope with test anxiety in the days leading up to the exam, as well as in the middle of it.
- Prepare the best you can. Make sure that you allow yourself adequate time to study the material ahead of the time. The more prepared you feel, the more likely you are to be at ease on test day. At the same time, remind yourself that all you can do is learn the key concepts and make sure that you understand the material. The rest is out of your control.
- Challenge unhelpful thoughts. As you prepare for the test, any time that you find yourself thinking ‘I have to get a 100 on this test’ or ‘I’m definitely going to bomb this test and then fail the class,’ challenge these unhelpful thought patterns. The pressure we put on ourselves to perform perfectly and catastrophic thinking can both contribute to test anxiety. Instead, craft more realistic expectations and outcomes. Remind yourself that one test does not define you or your future. Putting things in perspective can help you to remember that regardless of your performance, it won’t be the end of the world.
- Take care of yourself. It can be easy to get so caught up in studying, that we’re living at the library, running on coffee, packaged snacks and a few hours of sleep. Leading up to the test, it is essential to prioritize getting adequate sleep, fueling your body through proper nutrition and regulate exercise. As our physical health is so connected to our mental health, engaging in these habits can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety. It can also be helpful to limit caffeine, as too much can exacerbate anxiety. You can also try natural supplements. Shop CBD gummies UK from a number of established vendors.
- Accept your anxiety. Acknowledge when you notice symptoms of anxiety coming up. Tell yourself that your pounding heartbeat or shaking hands or feelings of dread are attributed to anxiety. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be so overwhelming at times, but fighting against it can often make things worse. Instead, notice the presence of your anxiety and let it move through you.
- Utilize coping techniques during the test. There are strategies that can help you to manage your anxiety while in the middle of the exam, such as deep breathing. You might recite a mantra in your head such as ‘I can do this.’ If you’re allowed to during the test, take a brief walk down the hallway and back in order to get your body moving to release some of the built-up tension.