Many people go to school every year seeking an education that will, in turn, help them live their lives in pursuit of a certain dream or goal that they may have. Whether it be elementary school, high school, or even some form of a higher education, there's always some who may struggle more than others. Now, this isn't because they're dumb or not trying their best, but because there are a variety of different things that could each play a part in a person's own, individual struggles. One issue that I have seen constantly over the years as I progressed into higher education is test anxiety. Not knowing much about it myself, I decided to do some research and explore ways of helping those who suffer from this.
For those who aren't as familiar with test anxiety, it can be defined as "a combination of physiological over-arousal, tension and somatic symptoms, along with worry, dread, fear of failure, and catastrophizing, that occur before or during test situations." In simpler terms, people who may have a fear of failure, lack of preparation, or even a poor test history will mentally "psych themselves out" which leads to feelings of uneasiness before, during, and after exams. This can lead to a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to, headaches, nausea, a rapid heartbeat, anger, helplessness, and disappointment. Most people who experience test anxiety tend to think negatively about themselves and compare how they do to other people.
After having a close, personal experience with test anxiety, I wanted to take a look at different ways to combat your test anxiety, which in turn could improve a person's academic performance and psychological state regarding academics. The following list of tips has been compiled from various sources that aim to help those suffering from this.
TIPS FOR OVERCOMING TEST ANXIETY
-Plan ahead and be prepared! Don't wait until the last minute to begin preparing for an assessment.
-Find the study method that best suits you. Maybe studying with a group doesn't work or you're absolutely set on using flashcards. Finding something that works for you is key to improving your study habits.
-Replace negative thoughts with positive ones, simple as that.
-Accept that you won't know everything and aren't perfect, but focus on trying to understand the material, not memorize it. Having an understanding of what you are learning will help you in the long run.
-Stay organized and don't let peer pressure or competitiveness bring you down. Everyone is at school to get an education so don't let others successes distract you from your own path in life.
-Review your past performance on exams and quizzes to improve and learn from it.
-Approach the exam with confidence as an opportunity to show how much you have studied and learned.
-Avoid thinking you need to cram for the exam so you remember everything. Speaking from personal experience, cramming does not help one bit. Take a few days to prepare for the exam, studying relatively more the last day.
-GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP! I can't stress this one enough. Scientifically, it takes time sleeping for the brain to store information you have been reviewing in your long-term memory. Staying up late, getting little to no sleep, and waking up early the next day will never work out in your favor.
-Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach. The body and brain need fuel in the morning to start working efficiently. As they always say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
-Relax during the exam and don't think about the fear of failure. Expect some anxiety but use positive reinforcements to calm yourself.
-During the test, budget your time and focus on answering the questions you definitely know. Skip the others and then return to them later to ensure you receive the maximum points possible for the material you know.
-Don't panic when others finish because there is no reward for finishing first. You have the entire time period so feel free to use it.
-Get to the class early so you're on time and don't feel like you're in a rush.
-Watch the clock to stay on track. If you look up and there are only 15 minutes left don't freak out, just recognize that time is almost up and focus on answering questions to the best you can.
-If you freak out during the exam, try breathing and thinking positively to calm you down.
If you are someone struggling with test anxiety, definitely take a look at these tips and approach them with an open mind. You never know what may help. If your school offers some form of counseling with a professional, definitely explore it because talking with them may actually help you out in the long run.