Has this ever occurred to you? You’ve been studying hard for your Physics midterm exam, but while you walk into your exam hall, your mind goes void. As you sit down and the exam commences, do you observe sweaty palms and a pit in your stomach?
If these test anxiety signs seem familiar, then your test scores and grades may not reveal your true capabilities.
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What is Test Anxiety?
A psychological condition where people encounter extreme stress and fear in testing situations is known as Test Anxiety. While most people encounter some degree of anxiety and stress before or during the exams, test anxiety can actually undermine learning and hurt test performance.
While people have the abilities and experience to do very well in these conditions, their extreme anxiety diminishes their performance. The hardness of test anxiety can differ considerably from one character to another. Some people might be nervous or may encounter confusion while others might find it challenging to concentrate on the exam.
Signs of Test Anxiety
- Physical Signs: Nausea, Diarrhea, Headache, extreme sweating, fast heartbeat, shortness of breathing, and dizziness. Test anxiety can start a panic attack, which is the sudden rush of intense fear or distress in which people may feel like they are unable to breathe or are having a heart attack.
- Emotional signs: Emotions of violence, fear, failure, and frustration are common emotional responses to test anxiety.
- Behavioral or Cognitive signs: Trouble in focusing, thinking negatively and Negative Self Talk are common symptoms of test anxiety.
Test anxiety Causes
- Fear of failure: While the stress of performing well on an exam can be stimulating, it can be damaging to our self worth if we correlate the test’s grade with our value.
- Poor examination history: Failing on the prior exam can make you concerned for the next exam. It is essential to remember to stay focused. Do not dwell on the past.
- Stress: If we expect a particular rank to pass the class, it could increase our test anxiety.
- Perfectionism: Perfectionism has remarkably high-performance expectations. Research studies reveal that students who have a need for perfectionism and extraordinary self-criticism manage to have high test anxiety and perform poorly on exams.
Ideas to overcome Test Anxiety
Just as most speakers who get up on the stage feel apprehensive before an important talk, a bit of stress is plausibly good too, as it gets your adrenaline running, makes you wide-awake for the big event.
But, sadly, not everyone can keep it in check, and that’s when it starts affecting our performance.
This brings us to the inquest: How to manage test-anxiety?
Here is a list of some important ideas which will help you to overcome the Test Anxiety:
- Study Efficiently: Develop good study habits. Use different techniques to study. Practice excessively using sample papers and study at least one or two weeks prior to the exam, in shorter accretions of time and over a few days rather studying a day before the exam.
- Make a routine: Discover what works for you, and follow the same pattern each time you start taking a test. This will reduce your anxiety level and help you to be confident to ensure that you’re well-prepared for the test.
- Learn to relax: One can stay calm and confident before and during the test. One can perform relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, relaxing your muscles one at a time, or closing your eyes, meditating and visualising a positive outcome.
- Don’t forget to eat and drink: Our brain requires fuel to operate. Have good food and drink plenty of water before the exam. Avoid sugary beverages such as soda drink, which can induce your blood sugar to peak and then drop; one should also avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee or energy drinks, which can aggravate stress.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercises can help one to release tension and stress. Swimming, Running, Brisk walking, Dancing, Aerobic exercise are some of the activities that will benefit students. Exercising on the day of the exam day can also help to release anxiety and stress.
- Sleep Properly: Sleep is undeviatingly related to educational performance. Preteens and teenagers particularly require regular, uninterrupted sleep. Adults also require a good night’s sleep for optimal work completion.
- Read and write: Never stop at reading–write down whatever you learn. With the help of writing, you can engage in effective learning, which can develop your memory and knowledge. Try creating flashcards, writing summaries of chapters, or forming an outline of the material. This will help you in memorising, and as a bonus, you can refer later to what you’ve written to review the material quickly before the exam.
- Check if you have a learning disability: Test anxiety may develop by directing an underlying situation that intervenes with the capacity to focus, learn or concentrate — for example, ADHD (attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder or dyslexia). In most cases, a student diagnosed with a disability is authorised to support with test-taking, such as additional time to perform a test, giving exam in a less distracting room or reading questions loudly.
- Consult an expert or a counsellor, if necessary: Talk to a therapist or a psychologist who can help you manage through your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that induce or worsen anxiety or stress.
Approaching your studying seriously, but thinking of the test as a game can actually help. Your goal is to accumulate as many points as you can in the available time. Do not obsess about a complicated or difficult problem. If you’re doubtful of the answer, figure it later and move on. Remind yourself that you can abstain one question and still do well in the exam. Therefore, one should be confident and also stay away from stress to overcome test anxiety.