An estimated 20 to 40 percent of students’ experience test anxiety. In severe cases, it can lead to depression, behavioral problems, and dropping out.
Most students deal with some anxiety when faced with tests and exams. A little stress can help performance by driving students to study and become better prepared. Being an essay writer, I can say that problems arise when students’ anxiety levels are so high that they can’t perform up to their potential.
When graduates look back and think about all the fun they had in college, taking tests probably isn’t what they remember.
Almost everybody walks into that classroom with some dread. To some degree, this can be helpful, as a little stress can motivate you to study and perform well. Unfortunately, for some students, tests don’t just cause stress, but outright anxiety. When you’re anxious, it’s difficult to perform your best, which can make test-taking a nightmare.
Tests are never going to be fun, but they don’t have to be terrifying experiences. If you find exams overwhelming, here are some tips.
Prepare Well for the Test
One of the best ways to make exams less stressful is to prepare for them well. Do all the readings and the assignment, come to class every day, take good notes, and spend lots of time studying. If you walk into the room and know you’ve mastered the material, this will ease anxiety. However, if you walk in and you know you haven’t studied much at all, of course, you’ll feel anxious. Who wouldn’t?
Of course, part of preparing well is not putting off studying until the last minute. Use good time management skills and make sure you have plenty of time to prepare. It’s also important to study at least a few days before the exam so you’ll have time to contact the professor if you have any questions. These strategies will help you feel more confident during the test and will reduce anxiety.
Need some help learning how to prepare for a test? Here are some tips for how to ace a midterm or final exam.
Taking Control of Study Habits
Students who are dealing with high levels of anxiety often put off studying until the last moment or do so much cramming that they become overwhelmed. Working with the teacher, instructor, or school counselor to set up a reasonable study schedule is a great start. When studying, distractions should be limited and the study area comfortable. Students should also ensure they have everything they need before they begin. When the time set aside for studying is over, it’s over. Students need to resist the urge to overdo it. After a couple of hours of intense studying, taking in and processing information becomes more and more difficult. This in itself can lead to frustration and increased anxiety.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
Anxiety is psychological, but it also manifests itself physically. An anxious person experiences symptoms such as tense muscles, perspiration, headaches, or even breathing problems. These symptoms make you feel more anxious, so it’s a troublesome cycle. You’re anxious, and therefore your body hurts. Your body hurts, and therefore you’re anxious.
To reduce symptoms, take care of your body before the exam. This may feel like a tall order, as exam times are busy times. However, you don’t need to spend lots of time to make yourself feel more comfortable.
One of the best things you can do is get a good night’s sleep before the exam – even if this cuts down on your study time a bit. Cramming isn’t very effective anyway, so you might as well sleep. Avoid all-nighters, as these will make you feel terrible the next day.
In addition, try to eat well – or at least not horribly! If you have a morning exam, be sure to eat breakfast, even if it’s a quick one. Eat some protein, and try not to overload yourself with sugar and other simple carbs (like white bread). Although it’s tempting to load up on caffeine, this may make you feel jittery, which is exactly what you don’t need if you’re prone to anxiety.
If possible, try to get a little exercise, especially aerobic exercise. A brisk walk or jog will get your heart beating and your blood flowing faster, and this can help you feel better physically.
Test Taking Techniques to Reduce Anxiety
Once you start taking the test, there are things you can do to calm yourself down. One technique is to take long, deep breaths. If you feel yourself getting anxious, stop and breathe. It’s also helpful to stretch.
Feel stressed about time? It might help to stop for a minute, close your eyes, and breathe. This seems counterintuitive, but a little time taken to relax can help you work more efficiently.
Another thing that helps many students is to make a “game plan.” If there’s an essay, outline it ahead of time so that you know what you’re going to say. If you have math problems, figure out the order you plan to solve the problems, and how long you think each problem will take.
Professional Help for Anxiety
If anxiety is a serious problem for you – because of tests or because of other reasons – seek help. Campus counselors talk to many students who experience test anxiety and will be able to help you.
Exams are an unpleasant experience for everyone, and you’ll probably never feel completely stress-free when you take one because no one does. However, with some effort and practice, you can learn to work your way through the anxiety so that it doesn’t hold you back.
About the author: Diane H. Wong is a content writer and family coach. Besides, she is a research paper writer at DoMyWriting service so she prefers to spend her spare time working out family issues solutions. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.
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