test-anxietyIf you have a big test looming on the horizon, you may understandably be nervous. Your test may impact your GPA, whether you graduate with honors, if you earn a certification you need, if you get into college or something else altogether. While it is normal to feel some stress about the situation and the result of your efforts, the fact is that true test anxiety can actually impact your performance on a test. In some cases, this can impact your life in significant ways. Therefore, finding a way to get over test anxiety can be beneficial for some people.

Signs You Have Test Anxiety
Many people who are anxious about an upcoming test have a history of test anxiety on previous tests.

  • You may have test anxiety if you have trouble remembering the things you studied the days immediately before the test while you are taking the test.
  • However, you may have full recall of the information after you are done taking the test.
  • You may also have physical symptoms associated with test anxiety. This may include fast breathing, a rapid heartbeat, feeling short of breath, having clammy hands, sweating, having stomach upset and feeling tense or lightheaded.

These physical symptoms can make it difficult to focus on the test.

The Impact of Test Anxiety
While many people will feel some stress or anxiety before taking a big test, most will be able to control their physical symptoms, enjoy full mental recall of the information they studied and ultimately perform well on their test. Others will not be able to overcome their anxiety. Their performance on the test ultimately will be affected by their physical and emotional symptoms.

  • This can create a situation where the test result does not adequately represent their knowledge of the subject material.
  • They may perform poorly on the test, and this can lower their GPA, impact their ability to get into the college they desire, to graduate college on schedule or something else.
  • The fact is that tests are stressful because they do have an impact on your future. They can even impact your ability to pursue the career of your choice and to earn a higher level of income in that career.

As you can see, this can have a major impact on your life, and being able to overcome test anxiety is critical for those who suffer from it.

Tips for Getting Over Test Anxiety
There are several steps that you can take both before and during the test that can help you overcome your text anxiety.

  • First, rather than cram for the test the day or night before, you can develop better study habits. One option for doing this is to keep up with assignments and study in increments over time.
  • Finding a few study partners to study regularly with can also be helpful. Take practice exams, and try to simulate true test conditions. This can provide you with confidence on the day of the test and the knowledge that you know and understand the information being covered.
  • Practice relaxation techniques during stressful situations outside of the testing environment. This may include deep breathing techniques, closing your eyes to count to ten slowly in your head or something similar.
  • Learning how to relax and regain focus outside of the testing environment can then be applied to the testing environment as needed.
  • In addition, on the day of test, arrive early for the test and with all the items you need to take the test.
  • Ensure that your pencils are sharpened, and choose to sit in an area of the room where you feel most comfortable and may be least distracted by others in the room.

Test anxiety is a real issue for many people, and it can have a negative impact on a person’s life and on the person’s ability to achieve their goals. While this can be a significant problem for some, there are a number of options available for overcoming such situations related to test anxiety.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author: Michele Holincheck, FNP