I have developed 5 tips to reduce test anxiety, so that you can be as effective as possible on test day! It is not abnormal to have testing anxiety, no matter the subject,
Anxiety is an intense feeling of worry, fear and stress from dealing with everyday life. Anxiety makes it difficult to focus, sleep or work effectively. Anxiety can happen to anyone and is diagnosed by a mental health professional.
Testing anxiety is extreme distress and anxiety one experiences when testing. Just like anxiety, some nervousness may occur with stressful situations however, this is- again- extreme distress.
In undergrad, I suffered from test anxiety. It was so bad, I would have moments where I could not see…could not breath…I just couldn’t. Finally, I go to counseling services and figure out what is going on.
I learned many skills from my counselor and from research, to reduce my anxiety or cope with it. My grades began to improve and I could breathe again! It’s only fair to pay it forward and help you all out as someone helped me!
So simple, yet so hard to remember! Similar to generalized anxiety, testing anxiety that causes the “fuzzy brain” and increased stress can be decreased with slow deep breaths. When you breathe slowly you are forcing your brain to focus on your breaths and not on the test.
Personally, identifying my triggers allowed for me to rationalize my negative thoughts. A test would be placed in front of me by the professor and it’s like I would black out. The ability to acknowledge that : a paper slammed in front of me, the automatic negative thoughts being generated and the professor giving time warnings, triggered my anxiety, allowed me the opportunity to combat it.
Now that I know what caused the anxiety, I could figure out a way to reduce the feeling. I took a large list of coping skills from Pinterest and got cracking. I tried yoga, short meditations, positivity, exposure, etc to try to reduce my testing anxiety. Eventually, I had to realize that it was not going to be one thing to reduce my anxiety it was going to take implementing multiple skills.
I prepared for when my anxiety would hit, by implementing skills when things were good. Sitting at a desk in the library, I would visualize sitting for an exam in the classroom. When walking in the halls before EACH class, I would express gratitude and give myself affirmations. “I am smart” “I am capable” “I learned what I needed to excel”. When sitting for the exam, I had practiced so often what I would do to combat my anxiety, that it actually went well!
As I stated before, I went to counseling services when I could not figure out what was happening and could not figure out what to do to stop it. The individuals who work in counseling services are peers or counselors, who knows what you are going through and will inform you of what will or will not help. If you do not have counseling services at your school, seek professional help within the community, talk to your primary care physician and speak with your professors to see how they can help.
These are some tips that helped me along the way, and I hope you will find them just as helpful! Excel in school and do not allow testing anxiety to get you down!
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