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10 Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

10 Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety

10 Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety

If you’re anything like most people, when you take a test or complete an important project, you get nervous about how well you’ll do. There’s nothing wrong with being anxious before a big test – this kind of anxiety can actually be motivating and help you perform better on the exam or in your final presentation. But sometimes, these feelings of anxiety can become too much to handle and interfere with your ability to think clearly and work efficiently on an exam or project – this is what we call test anxiety.

Here are ten ways to deal with test anxiety so you can focus on your test instead of worrying about it.

  1. Remember It’s Only a Test
  2. Mind Your Emotions
  3. Don’t Compare Yourself with Other Students
  4. Practice the Day of the Test
  5. Make a Plan
  6. Rest and Relax the Night Before
  7. Get an Early Start on the Test Date
  8. Keep a Positive Attitude
  9. Do Not Procrastinate
  10. Believe in Yourself

1. Remember It’s Only a Test

Remember that it’s only a test. Everything will be alright whatever happens on the test. Even if it goes terribly wrong and you fail miserably, it won’t be the end of the world. Don’t make it into something bigger in your head than it has to be.

Don’t get too stressed out about studying or doing well on the test; that only increases your anxiety level. Just do the best you can, and try not to worry about what might happen when you take the test.

Understand that you’re not alone. Everyone feels anxious before taking a big test, and there are other people who have the same worries that you do. There are also many who had trouble with taking tests in school but still went on to have very successful lives.

I had a friend once who was really bad at taking tests in school. He would get super anxious before any test, and it would affect his ability to recall information. He ended up spending a lot of time in study hall, but he did manage to graduate with good grades at the bottom of his class.

He got into college on an academic scholarship and went on to become a doctor, which is an impressive feat. He said that it took him a long time to learn how to manage his worries and focus on doing his best on the test instead of getting all worked up about it. He also studied hard so he knew the material well and didn’t have to worry about whether or not he would pass the test.

He said that learning how not to let anxiety take over when taking tests was one of the hardest things he ever had to do, but it was worth it because it gave him a sense of accomplishment and made him proud that he could overcome such challenges with hard work and determination.

2. Mind Your Emotions

The problem with test anxiety is that it affects your ability to control emotions so you can focus on the task at hand. It could be helpful to first understand what happens in the brain when you experience test anxiety. The amygdala is the part of your brain that processes fear and intense emotions; when there's a threat, it activates the body's fight or flight response, which in turn releases adrenaline. This adrenaline release can make your heart race, cause sweaty palms and shortness of breath, and lead to poor performance.

It is also important to understand that if you experience test anxiety once, you may continue to feel anxious about future tests, even if you studied properly. To prevent this from happening, you need to mind your emotions. When you feel nervous or stressed out about a test, take deep breaths and try meditating for five minutes before walking into the exam room. It can also help if you prepare yourself beforehand by getting enough sleep and eating a nutritious breakfast before an exam.

Another important way to deal with test anxiety is through visualization. Visualize yourself going into an exam and getting an excellent score. This technique can help reduce your negative emotions by getting you excited about doing well on your next test, which could motivate you to prepare harder. Then, during your actual exam, you'll be able to focus on actually answering questions instead of feeling anxious.

3. Don't Compare Yourself to Other Students

Ever wonder why we compare ourselves to others? Perhaps it’s because we want to feel better about ourselves. Our brains are wired for comparison in an attempt to preserve our self-esteem.

But comparing yourself to others can lead to test anxiety. Why? Because it’s easy to focus on what you don’t have instead of what you do have.

You might be thinking, “If I just had more time, I could study and do better on the test.” Or, “If only I had a better memory, I could ace this test.”

But here’s the thing: You don’t need more time or a better memory to do well on your next exam. What you really need is a proven strategy that will help you get rid of test anxiety so you can focus and perform your best.

Let me relate my own story here.

I was always afraid of tests. I wasn't good at memorizing. Compared to my classmates, I always fell behind.

I told my mother, "I'm not good enough." She said, "Don't compare yourself with others."

"But they are better than me."

"You don't know what they have been through."

I asked my dad, "Why do I have to take a test?" He said, "because you can't get rid of it."

Then he asked me," What if you have a big exam tomorrow and the school is on fire?" I said," I will try my best to save myself." He said," You will see there is no point in comparing yourself with others. You can only run for your life."

Since then, I realized that it's useless to compare myself with others. It's like running on the street; everyone has their own lane and runs at their own speed. So don't look back and run as fast as you can."

4. Practice the Day of the Test

Imagine you are about to take a test. You have studied a lot, and you feel prepared. But as soon as you sit down to take the test, you realize that you can't remember anything. Your mind is completely blank. You start to worry and feel nervous. You worry about failing, and you start to feel sick to your stomach. What should you do?

To prepare for this situation, practice taking tests under conditions that are similar to those on the actual test day. If your test is timed, set a timer while you're practicing and stop when the time runs out, even if there are some questions that you haven't answered yet. If you have to write by hand, use a pen or pencil instead of typing your answers on the computer. Take breaks every once in a while, just like on the actual test day.

By taking practice tests in this way, you'll see what it's like to take the real test. You'll get used to working under pressure and under time constraints. Doing this will help you build confidence in yourself so that on the actual test day, your mind won't go blank and you won't panic as easily.

5. Make a Plan

It’s the night before your test, and you can’t seem to shake that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You feel like you haven’t studied enough, or perhaps you have no idea how to approach a certain problem. But there are ways to defeat those nagging feelings of worry before they even begin.

If you’re prone to test anxiety, planning ahead is one of the best things you can do. Start by making a list of every single possible thing you need to study, including all of your notes, handouts, quizzes, past tests and homework assignments. Include everything that might appear on the exam; if you go into the test with everything already written down, you won’t feel like you overlooked anything.

Next, make a schedule for when to study each subject. For example, if algebra is your hardest subject and it only makes up about 20 percent of the exam material, don’t spend half of your study time on it; set aside enough time for it so that you feel comfortable with it but won’t overdo it and waste time. Make sure to include a few breaks in between subjects so that your brain has some time to rest before moving on to a new one.

Do not try to cram for tests by studying at the last minute. Make a plan for learning the material during the course of your study period, rather than waiting until the end. Try to use all of your senses when studying. Write down key ideas and key words in different colors of ink and in different ways, such as making up mnemonic devices or drawing pictures to remember important information. Explain ideas out loud or teach them to a friend or family member who doesn't understand the subject matter.

When it comes time for the actual test, don’t panic. Remember that your goal is simply to do your best; there is no need to worry about whether you missed anything or if you know absolutely everything on a given test.

6. Rest and Relax the Night Before

It's the night before your big exam, and you're staring at your textbooks. You really should be studying, but you can't get your brain to focus on reading about economics or biology. Instead, you're thinking about what test questions might look like and how nervous you feel about taking this important exam.

It's only natural to experience test anxiety as an important deadline approaches. However, there are ways to reduce anxiety during the testing process.

To start, it's important that you take some time off to rest and relax the night before your exam. Most students stay up late into the night cramming for their exams. They may even pull all-nighters in order to make sure they remember every last detail of the material covered during their course. But staying up all night is not only bad for your health; it's also a bad study strategy because it makes it more difficult to think clearly and recall important information during the test.

Instead of staying up late studying, try to get plenty of sleep the night before your exam. You should also avoid activities that might make you anxious right before bedtime, such as watching scary movies or television programs that cover intense topics like politics or war.

7. Get an Early Start on the Test Date

When it comes to test time, students often feel stressed and anxious. One of the biggest causes of this is not knowing what to expect on the test. In order to combat this anxiety and stress, students should plan on arriving early to the test so they can ensure they have plenty of time to get organized and ready for the exam.

Arriving early for a test allows students more time to handle any last-minute problems that may occur. Finding a parking spot, getting lost on campus, or waiting for friends are all things that can delay your arrival at a test. If you arrive early, these delays will not be as stressful because you will still have plenty of time to get organized before the exam begins.

Another benefit of arriving early to a test is that it lets you get settled in and relaxed before beginning your exam. Many students are fearful of taking tests; if you arrive early, you will have more time to relax before the exam begins and this may help ease some of your nerves and allow you to think more clearly during the test.

If you arrive early for your next test, you will not have to worry about being late or stressed before your exam begins. You will be able to get everything in place so that when it is time for the test to begin, you can take a deep breath and relax knowing that all of your preparations are complete.

8. Keep a Positive Attitude

A great way to overcome test anxiety is to keep a positive attitude. Think positively and remember that you've studied hard for a long time and you're ready for this moment. Don't allow your nerves to get the best of you. It's okay if you don't know all the answers. If you've studied hard, then you should feel confident that you already know most of what will be on the test.

Sure, it may seem like a big deal right now, but in reality, this one test doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. It's just one test, so don't make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be!

Apart from the fact that having a positive attitude is likely to help you in anything that you do, it is also the case that a positive attitude can be instrumental in overcoming test anxiety.

You will find that if you are optimistic about your chances of doing well on a test, and believe that you have the skills to overcome any problems, then this sort of thinking can help you reduce your anxiety levels.

One of my friends, who is known for being very intelligent, always gets stressed out when she has a test because she knows that she will do very well and doesn't want to ruin her perfect record. I always tell her that the best way to get through a test is to keep a positive attitude about it - even if you don't know the answers, thinking positively about it will help move your thoughts in the right direction.

9. Don't Procrastinate

If you are feeling the test anxiety, then you need to take action immediately. You don’t have time to be lazy and procrastinate. If you do procrastinate about it, then it will only get worse. Procrastination is an easy habit to fall into, but in the end, it will only make things worse for you.

When you choose not to study for a test, you are consciously making the decision to do poorly on that test. This means that you are choosing to feel bad about yourself and your academic ability. If procrastination causes poor grades, then poor grades cause lower self-esteem.

When people are stressed out about a test, they often try to get rid of that stress by doing something fun or distracting like playing video games or watching TV. But these activities only make a person's stress worse in the long run because they take time away from studying.

The solution to test anxiety isn't necessarily to study more but to study more efficiently, with a plan that breaks down what needs to be done into smaller steps and gives you plenty of time to accomplish them. It also helps to shift your thinking away from the test itself and onto the subject you are studying.

10. Believe in Yourself

The last thing to do to overcome test anxiety is to believe in yourself. If you truly believe that you are prepared for the exam, then you will be calm and confident during the test. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in your abilities, you will be more likely to second guess yourself or panic when things look unfamiliar.

But, how can you really believe in yourself? There are two important components that make up this belief: preparation and perspective.

By preparing properly for your tests, you will know what to expect and feel ready and confident on exam day. To prepare well, follow the study techniques outlined in our article on how to study effectively.

By looking at past exams and assignments, you can get a realistic idea of what to expect from your exams. Take the time to look at old tests from your class or get help from your teachers or peers who have already taken these tests. This will help you determine what topics will be covered and what type of questions to expect on the test.

Remember that even if this is not a perfect reflection of what will come up on your test (it never is), it’s still a good guide that can give you an idea of what to expect.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq