Test Anxiety Tips

Definition: Test anxiety is a worry or fear caused by having to take tests.

Text anxiety may cause:

  • Mental Distraction (easily distracted by temperature, sound, or passerby)
  • Physical Symptoms (quickened heart rate, “butterflies”  in the stomach, nausea, sweating, headache)
  • Mental Blocks

You Can Beat Test Anxiety If You Learn to Believe In Yourself!

Effective studying gives you confidence

  • Set the right atmosphere
  • Study where there are no interruptions (no tv, phone or friends)
  • Study in the same place each day
  • Sit at a well-lit desk or table. Stay away from easy chairs.
  • Don’t study when you are overtired. Take a nap and then study.

Make the most of your notes

  • Take notes efficiently in a notebook.
  • Spend a couple of minutes reading your notes right after class.
  • Set aside some time each week to review your notes.

Develop a schedule

  • Mark deadlines and exam dates for the semester/quarter on a calendar.
  • Schedule several short review sessions rather than one or two longer ones.
  • Be realistic about how much material you can cover in one session.
  • Schedule some free time too.

Create learning aids

  • Match the study material to the aid. For example, use flashcards to learn technical terms and foreign language vocabulary.
  • Make charts and timelines for historical events.
  • Use outlines to help break information into smaller units that are easy to remember.

Prepare yourself

  • Attend all classes. Skipping classes may add to your anxiety at test time.
  • Ask questions and try to pick out the important information.
  • Look for key phrases (i.e. “The main idea is…” or "What is the author's point of view?")
  • Get help if you have a particular problem with the material.

Be kind to yourself

  • Eat and sleep well before the test.
  • Don’t try to cram or stay up all night, you’re likely to be tired, irritable, and distracted by test time.

You Can Control Your Test Anxiety!

  • Think positively. For example say; “I will do well on this test!”
  • Use your imagination in a positive way. When you let your imagination go wild, anxiety is sure to follow. Learn to imagine yourself remaining calm and in control. Cast yourself in the role of a winner!
  • Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Learn to relax. Get comfortable. Tighten the muscles in your toes. Hold for a count of ten. Relax and enjoy the sensation of release from tension. Flex the muscles in your feet. Hold for a count of ten. Relax. Move slowly up through your body-legs, abdomen, back, neck, and face-contracting and relaxing muscles as you go.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Use relaxation techniques if your mind is blocked by tension during the test. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing and then return to the test.
  • Deal with pressure before it has a chance to build. Get help from your teachers. Go to class on a regular basis. Get help from your parents. Be honest when discussing your fears and the pressures you feel.

Taken from Julie Anderson, 2002