Test anxiety is said to be a combination of psychological, physiological, tension together with worry, and fear of failure that engulfs a student before and during an exam. Most student who suffers from this condition usually experience extreme stress and anxiety while on exam. It’s been observed by researchers in student who exhibits and experience exam anxiety, showing a correlation for reduced academic performance with a high rate of students drop out after exam. Test anxiety can therefore have broader consequences to a student, that negatively affects a student’s social, emotional, and behavioural development, besides impacting on their feelings about themselves and school in general. Test anxiety thus is a type of performance anxiety whereby in each situation where the pressure is high and a good performance essential, puts students on the edge with anxiety that they are unable to do their best.
The severity of test anxiety affecting performance do vary considerably from one person to another. Some people might feel like they have butterflies in their stomach and while others might find it difficult to concentrate on the exam. For instance, a violin student performing for a school competition may become extremely nervous before a recital that during the performance, she will end up messing up on several key passages and flubs her solo.
According to an article published by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the symptoms of test anxiety can be physical, behavioural, cognitive, and emotional.
For the case of physical symptoms of test anxiety, it will include sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting, and to some extent feeling of nausea.
Cognitive and behavioural symptoms will include avoidance of situations that involve testing. Which will involve skipping of class or even dropping out of school. In other cases, students may be tempted to resort to misuse of drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms of anxiety.
Emotional symptoms of test anxiety will include things like depression, low self-esteem, anger, and at times a feeling of hopelessness.
For many students, test anxiety can be caused by a combination of things for example poor study habits, bad poor past test performance, and an underlying anxiety problem will contribute to test anxiety condition.
- Fear of failure mainly has to do with connecting to a sense of self-worth to the test scores, this adds pressure to a student which will eventually build up to cause severe test anxiety.
- Bad poor testing history relates to an experience with doing poorly on tests before, reason being one didn’t study well enough or because the student was so anxious, that he could not remember the answers, this too can cause more anxiety and a negative attitude every time they must take another test.
- Unpreparedness will be good reason for developing test anxiety, if you don’t study or don’t study well enough, this can add to your feeling of anxiety.
So how you handle test anxiety will go a long way in prevent or minimizing dangers that comes test anxiety, using the following strategies:
- Avoiding the perfectionist trap by not dwelling so much on becoming perfect in everything we do. Understanding that we all make mistakes and that it is fine when we stumble Knowing we’ve done our best and worked hard is all that matters, and not perfection.
- Banish the negative thoughts which enhances our fear of anxiety or defeated thoughts, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I did not study hard enough,” or “I can’t do this,”. Dealing with such thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts will effectively assist in the management of stress level when taking a test.
- Getting enough sleep is a good way to boost our concentration and memory through preparation. That means studying for the test early until we feel comfortable with the material.
- Take a deep breath whenever we start feeling anxious while we’re taking tests, this because deeply breathing may be useful for reducing anxiety. Breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth. Work through each question or problem one at a time, taking a deep breath in between each one as needed. Making sure we are giving our lungs plenty of oxygen that will help our focus and sense of calmness.
You can also read more on how to Lower Stress Levels In College