If you’re an undergraduate student (or have you ever been one) perhaps you’ve been nervous ahead of a big test. A minor bout of nerves can actually be useful as it gives you an adrenaline rush to enable you to perform at your top performance. However, if your prior-test anxiety becomes so intense that it impacts your performance, then you are probably suffering from test anxiety. Continue reading to learn more about ways to conquer anxiety during tests.
What is Testing Anxiety?
Test anxiety is a mix mixture of emotions like worry of dread, anxiety, and worry, with physical symptoms of fight or flight that some individuals experience prior to and during the test. This is a type of anxiety when the pressure to be successful gets so overwhelming that people have difficulty focusing and perform at 100%. Some anxiety about taking tests is common, but in cases where exam anxiety symptoms trigger anxiety attacks, hamper learning, or impair performance, it’s important in determining ways to mitigate this response.
What Causes Test Anxiety?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, test anxiety is caused by the following causes:
- Fear of failing: Also known as atychiphobia fear of failure can negatively affect our performance. Students who tie their feeling of self-worth on the basis of the results of testing are more likely to experience this fear.
- The lack of preparation: Knowing you didn’t prepare enough in preparation for the test day may add to your feelings of anxiety and dread.
- Poor testing history: If you have performed poorly on other exams or have negative memories of exams, you might become trapped in a cycle of negative thought patterns that can affect your performance on future tests.
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These symptoms range from mild extreme, and can include:
- Affects on the emotional side: Feelings of despair, anger and fear insecurity, fear, and anxiety. The most severe signs include depression and low self-esteem.
- Physical symptoms include headaches and diarrhea, feelings of nausea, shortness of breath and heart rate that increases and lightheadedness. In more severe cases, test anxiety may trigger a panic attack.
- Behavior/cognitive signs: Negative self-talk or comparing yourself with other people, fidgeting, struggling to focus. In certain instances anxiety can become so extreme that students are forced to drop out of school.
Tips to get over test anxiety
So, how can you get over test anxiety? Here are some test-related suggestions to help:
- Be prepared: Poor preparedness can dramatically increase test anxiety. One of the most effective methods of reducing anxiety around tests is to make sure you are completely prepared for the next time you sit for a test. This includes thoroughly studying while getting a great night’s sleep, and waking up for the class on time.
- Improve your breathing. Stress causes breathlessness and rapid heartbeat. To reduce thesesymptoms, learn to regulate your breathing. Start by breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This will slow your breathing and aid in controlling your heart rate.
- Be positive in your thinking: having negative thoughts or catastrophizing might lead to higher levels of anxiety such as depression. Set reasonable expectations for yourself . It is important to remember that your self-worth should not be tied to the results of taking a test.
- It’s a good idea to laugh more often: Laughter is an organic remedy that improves your mood and combats stress. Consider watching YouTube content or listening to a hilarious podcast the next time you’re being stressed.
- Stay healthy: Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is vital for your mental and physical health. Make sure you get plenty of rest, work out regularly, and do self-care.
- Chew on chewing gum during tests can help focus your mind on the task in hand and away from negative thoughts.
- Consider yoga and meditation. Meditation is an excellent way to strengthen your mind to help you handle challenging situations more peacefully. It can help you pay attention to your surroundings and let go of negative thoughts that pop up into your head. Yoga is a sort practice of meditation in which breathing is synchronized and body movements, helping to develop focus on somatic sensations and decreasing stress.
- Listen to music Music has an immense ability to change your mood. Prior to taking a test try listening to music to calm your nerves. A slow pace can relax the muscles and quiet your thoughts. Additionally, dancing to a beat could allow you to relax.
- Take time to spend time with your pets. Studies suggest that spending time in the company of pets can lessen anxiety and stress levels for humans. If you don’t have a pet, consider fostering an animal or letting it sit.
- Contact a counselor Your personal therapist, or a counselor from the school’s health centre can help you identify your anxiety in the test and provide tools to alleviate it. Many schools offer resources dedicated to helping students overcome test anxiety.
If you’re experiencing extreme test anxiety, don’t be at all by yourself. Apply the strategies above and connect with your university’s counseling center to receive additional assistance.