Test Anxiety: What it is and How to Deal With it

Test Anxiety is a common occurrence in high schools across the country and not many people know what it is or what to do if they have it.

From: http://mcckc.edu/counseling/test-anxiety/

From: http://mcckc.edu/counseling/test-anxiety/

Will Fisher, Staff Reporter

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Test Anxiety affects a lot of students, 16-18% of students experience it sometime in their schooling career. This may seem like a small amount, but test anxiety is the most prevalent scholastic impairment.  If you want to look at it like a fraction, this means if you take five of your friends and ask them all if they have test anxiety, one of your five friends will say that they do have test anxiety. For people that don’t experience test anxiety, this article can help you understand what it is and for those who have test anxiety, this article will help you deal with it and give you strategies to help you handle it.


What is Test Anxiety?

Test Anxiety is nothing new in the psychological community. Test Anxiety has been studied since the 1950’s and has been studied all around the world. In the first-ever study of  Test Anxiety, the two researchers, George Mandler and Seymour Sarason, recorded that test anxiety was a problem and was better able to generalize anxiety as a whole.

The symptoms that were recorded during the first test of Test Anxiety were Physiological overarousal (emotionality), a feeling of dread, poor concentration, and being emotional. Physiological overarousal would include things such as headaches and nausea. These four things have been the most recorded symptoms of  Test Anxiety since the first studies.

With these symptoms, there have been a wide range diagnoses for Test Anxiety because of these symptoms. These diagnoses are OCD, Perfectionism, Negative self-esteem, Poor motivation, and Poor eating habits. Even though some of these diagnoses could be true, they are usually falsely diagnosed.

How to Overcome Test Anxiety

There are many ways that people can overcome Test Anxiety now after around 70 years. The first thing that is vital for people who have Test Anxiety to do is to prepare and study. Knowing that you know the content of the test means that you will do fine on the test. Even though most people study before a test, this may not be enough for people with Test Anxiety. The one thing that does truly help while preparing for a test for people who have Test Anxiety is to do the thing that all teachers tell students before a big test.

These things are to “get a good night’s sleep” and “eat a good breakfast the day of the test.” Even though these strategies may seem quite cheesy and sound like they won’t work, they absolutely do. Getting a good night’s sleep helps students stay more aware during the test and find more mistakes in their work. A good breakfast can help reduce stress during the test and later in the day. Fruits and vegetables are the main food that helps reduce stress, while processed foods and junk food increase stress.

During the test, students need to make sure that they are relaxed. Taking slow, deep breaths are a great way to slow someone’s heart rate and thus, reduce stress. Acknowledging that someone is doing their best has also been said to help stress. There will be some anxiety while taking a test, so a student needs to remember that they need to keep it manageable and not think about it too much.

After the test, look back and see what worked to reduce stress and what didn’t. This will help with future tests, so a student can know what to expect the next time they take a test.

…there are a lot of ways that someone can train themselves to reduce and ignore the stress that comes with taking tests.”

Test Anxiety can be a scary thing. It affects around 1/5 of every student in the US. Even though there aren’t a lot of medical options for someone with Test Anxiety, there are a lot of ways that someone can train themselves to reduce and ignore the stress that comes with taking tests.

The website that I used to get all of the information in this article is Study Guides and Strategies. They have a plethora of information about testing strategies and studying.

The link to the website for more information about Test Anxiety is here: http://www.studygs.net/tstprp8.htm