10 Different Strategies To Eliminate Test Anxiety

10 Different Strategies To Eliminate Test Anxiety

A few ways that you can prevent your anxiety from controlling your academic performance.

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One of the most common forms of anxiety for students in both college and high school is test-taking anxiety. Most students will agree that they have experienced anxiety before, during, or after taking a test. For some students, they may experience intense anxiety which can present itself through panic attacks, fainting, sweating, or feeling sick. For any student who is experiencing extreme anxiety, you should consider either seeing a counselor or, if you're in college, going to student disability services to be diagnosed for test anxiety.

However, there are a few strategies you can use to eliminate test anxiety if it isn't too extreme. Here are 10 different strategies that you can use to help eliminate your test anxiety.

1. Try exercising beforehand

Exercise

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Many students don't realize how helpful exercise can be for eliminating stress. I actually tried exercising for 30 minutes a few hours before taking my test, and it did appear to alleviate some of my stress. So if you have the time, try going on a quick walk outside before taking your exam.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

Healthy Food

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Generally, you should avoid any foods that are fatty or contain any sugar before taking your test. Food that is high in fat or sugar can increase anxiety. This also applies to caffeine or sugary beverages. According to the Test Prep Review, the best foods to eat before an exam are light high-protein meals such as toast with peanut butter, tuna, chicken breast, or others. Anything with nuts or eggs will also have pack tons of protein, which can help give you energy before an exam.

3. Take a moment to stop and breathe

Meditate

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This is one of the most important things to consider when managing test anxiety. Often when you start feeling anxiety during a test, you forget to breathe. This can cause your heart rate to speed up, which then causes you to panic. Whether you're in the middle of answering a question or not, stop for one moment and close your eyes. Then slowly breathe in, count to seven, and then breathe out counting to seven. Continue doing this until you feel calm. This will help not only slow down your heart rate, but it will also help eliminate any anxiety.

4. Make sure to study enough beforehand

Studying

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If you don't prepare beforehand for the test, you're likely going to increase the chances of getting anxiety while taking it. Make sure to plan to study for the test in advance! What I tend to do is study at least a week in advance or more depending on how difficult the content may be. The more prepared you are for the test, the more confident you will be while taking it!

5. Get to class early

Class

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Try to get to class early for the exam. Getting to your class early will allow you time to try to focus on relaxing before the test. It's also extremely helpful with being able to talk to any other students. You can also talk with your professor if they show up early for class, ask questions, or express any concerns. Generally, getting to class early before a test is a perfect strategy to use for combating test-taking anxiety!

6. Stop negative thoughts

Positive

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The biggest part of test anxiety is that you fill yourself with negative thoughts that are centered around the test. You may think "I can't do this," or "I'm going to fail." Don't allow negative thoughts to take control of your mindset! Instead, replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts so that you can change your attitude about your performance on the test.

7. Don't obsess over the time

Time

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The worst thing that you can do is start obsessing over how much time you have left on the exam. This is something that I often find myself doing, especially if I'm taking a timed test. You should still check the time periodically, but don't obsess over keeping track of how much time you have. This can lead to you running out of time since you won't be able to complete any of the questions on your exam. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on completing the questions, skipping the ones that you aren't sure about, and coming back to any questions that you skipped.

8. Focus on guided imagery

Ocean

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What always helps with my anxiety is picturing myself somewhere where I feel the most relaxed. It's good to take a moment before the test to picture yourself somewhere else such as the beach, coffee shop, or at a vacation spot. As long as it's somewhere that relaxes you the most, it will help eliminate any anxiety.

9. Talk to your professor

Professor

Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash

If all else fails, try to talk to your professor. Tell them about your anxiety. They may offer advice or accommodations if you're anxiety isn't severe enough to be diagnosed by a counselor or student disability services.

10. Don't let your grade define you

Test

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Lastly but most importantly, never let your performance on the test define who you are as a person! Test anxiety can relate to judgment over your performance on a test defining who you are as a person. You should never let a test score measure your capability! Before you go to take a test, remind yourself that it is just a test and that your entire future is not completely dependent on it. Even if you fail the test or fail a class, there are still other ways that you can work around the obstacle such as retake the class, find a tutor, or talk to the professor.

If you begin to feel like your test anxiety is starting to take a toll on your performance in your classes, try these strategies to help manage it. I have always struggled with test anxiety, and it really can make things seem harder in college. Following these strategies can help lessen or eliminate your test anxiety, which can help lead to a more successful college experience!

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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12 Simple Ways To Ease Your Anxiety

These are some super simple ways to handle your stress at home.

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Anxiety and stress are very common problems for many of us in today's society.

Over 70% of adults face some sort of anxiety or stress in their lives.

It can really be overwhelming and can seriously affect our mood for the rest of the day.

Pushing these feelings of anxiety and stress aside and letting them build up does nothing but cause more harm to our minds and bodies.

Sometimes, we just need a quick and easy way to help alleviate some of this stress to help us get through the day and to help us feel better.

Here are 12 ways to do just that:

1. Practice deep breathing

Mental stress and anxiety can cause your body to respond in physical ways. Since it affects your sympathetic nervous system, you might experience elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. Breathing deeply and slowly can help slow your heart and ease your body back into a calm state. When I panic or feel overwhelmed, I breathe in slowly through my nose, think of one thing that makes me happy, slowly breathe out through my mouth, and repeat until I can feel my mind and body begin to calm.

2. Light a candle or start up your essential oil diffuser

My personal favorite scent to soothe my anxiety is lavender. However, you can also try chamomile, rose, orange, jasmine, sandalwood, or whatever else might help you.

3. Exercise

This is a big one, but can also be a very difficult one. Whenever you're feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed, it might be hard enough for you to get yourself out of bed, let alone do any serious exercising. My best advice is to be proactive and try to pay attention to when you first start feeling your anxiety creep up on you. Just go ahead and get up and go for a walk, run, or whatever form of exercise you prefer!

4. Read a book

For me, there's nothing like curling up with a good book to help calm my nerves. Whenever I am knowingly going into a situation that will make me anxious, such as traveling, I always make sure to bring a book to read whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. Reading helps me to temporarily escape my anxieties and can be a big help in giving myself some much needed time to calm down.

5. Do yoga and practice meditation

Yoga is such a helpful activity for those with anxiety and stress! It kind of is just a combination of many different anxiety-relieving techniques (exercise, deep breathing, and mindfulness). There are many different apps, books, classes, and websites you can use as a guide and help to do yoga. You can find what positions, locations, and situation are best for you. Doing yoga gives you a great opportunity to think about and reflect on your feelings and worries.

6. Spend time with loved ones (yes, even your furbabies)

Sometimes, all we need is a little love and reassurance in our lives to alleviate some of our anxieties. Spending time with your family, friends, and pets can help us to see and remember the good things we have in our lives. So many times, those of us with anxiety tend to seclude ourselves and that makes it easy to forget the good we have.

7. Drink more water

Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause feelings of anxiety. It can make you feel jittery and can be a cause for elevated heart rate. Drinking more water not only helps you physically (like hydrating your skin and body), but it can also do wonders for your mental health. When your body is unhealthy and unhappy, that can be a big factor in feelings of depression and anxiety.

8. Take a short nap

If you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious, sometimes it can do some good to just take a short 30-minute nap. Just give yourself some time to rest your mind and body and face the issue with a new focus and fresh thoughts.

9. Journal

Even though writing down your feelings, bad or good, can be helpful, when you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try focusing on the positive! Write down a few things that made you happy today or a few things that you're grateful for. Don't let yourself be bogged down by the negative.

10. Clean

This might not work for everybody, but I know that sometimes when I'm feeling restless or anxious, cleaning and decluttering can help clear my mind. Basically, it's just good to find something to put your focus on when your anxious thoughts feel like too much. Try to pick a task and focus on that until you're finished. You'll likely find, in the end, that you feel much better than before you started.

11. Listen to happy and soothing music

Listening to music is a BIG help to some people with anxiety. However, you need to be mindful of what you're listening to. Don't put on the breakup playlist you made when you were 13. Find happy or soothing songs and make yourself a playlist of songs with themes of positivity.

12. Don't bottle up your feelings

This might just be the most important advice I can give you when it comes to handling your anxiety. The worst thing that you can do is to suppress your feelings and try to force yourself to forget about them. Hiding or bottling up your feelings might help temporarily, but that will just make you feel worse in the end. Talk to someone or try one of the other methods I mentioned to face your anxiety, but don't pretend like it doesn't exist.

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