How to Deal with Test Anxiety
Simple tips and tricks to help you get through your next test
Does stomach churning, can't sleep the night before test anxiety sound familiar? Test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety, and it happens to most of us.
Although some nervousness before a test is normal, the entire experience becomes pretty awful when anxiety gets high. It might seem impossible to eliminate the stress that comes before a test, but it isn't.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you get through your next round of tests with success.
Study. Obvious, right? Seems like it, but many students put it off until the last minute. Maybe schedules are busy, you hate the topic, or you are so nervous about the test that you dread even opening the book.
Believe it or not, your nerves will settle if you really know your material. Give yourself plenty of time before the test to study and do it when you are rested (not an all-night cram session). Start studying well before your test date — weeks, not hours.
Study in a way that is comfortable and works for you. Sitting at a desk or table in the library may not be the best way for you to study. I know students who often study while sitting on the couch with headphones in or the TV on in the background. If it's easier for you to focus sitting in bed in your sweats, then do it.
Prepare. Ask a classmate, friend, or parent to help you get ready for the test. Your teacher or professor may be willing to tell you the format of the test — multiple choice, essay, etc. to help you prepare.
Deanna Sayer of Next Step College & Career Planning says that "by having someone quiz you, creating a study guide, or writing out essay questions ahead of time, you can hear and see the information that will be on the test. Knowing what to expect and preparing in the right way will help you approach the test with more confidence."
Talk With Friends. Your friends may also worry about test taking. Ask them how they've dealt with it, and ask if they would like to study with you.
Take Care of Yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and practice some mindfulness exercises in the days leading up to the test. Experts recommend 6-8 hours of rest the night before a test and a healthy breakfast to energize your body and start the day out right.
Practice Positive Thinking. We are all our own worst enemies. Don't let negative thinking get in the way of a passing grade. You can do this. Think it, believe it, tell yourself repeatedly that you can and will get a great grade.
It might seem silly to give yourself a pep-talk, but having a positive attitude going into the test and expecting to be successful will have a bigger effect on the outcome than you might think.