You’ve turned in all of your homework, written an A+ paper, and answered questions in class with ease. But when the teacher begins handing out the test you freeze up and seem to be coming up blank. And this isn’t the first time this has happened.
While mild stress and anxiousness before a test is common, if the description above is all too familiar you may suffer from test anxiety, a form of performance anxiety characterized by symptoms such as headache, nausea, excessive sweating, feelings of anger or helplessness, and difficulty concentrating. Don’t worry, you are not alone, and there are ways to help!
If you suffer from test anxiety, be sure to read the tips below on how to manage your stress and ace your next test.
Be prepared—developing good study habits, rather than pulling an “all-nighter”, will help improve your confidence. Consider simulating the exam conditions by working through a practice test. Whatever your strategy is, just remember that simply attending class may not be enough to prepare you for testing.
Establish a consistent pretest routine—learn what works for you, and follow the same steps each time you get ready to take a test.
Eat well and drink plenty of water!—be sure to eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages the day of the test, they can make you even more jittery and anxious.
Get plenty of sleep—staying up all night before a test will only increase the likelihood of suffering from test anxiety. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, after all – you’ve been studying all week and feel very prepared, right?
Talk to your teacher—It’s important to talk to your teacher about what material will be on the test so you can properly prepare, as well as letting him or her know you feel anxious. As a mentor, it is their duty to help you succeed and might have some tips or reassuring words to help you do your best.
Don’t ignore a learning disability—your anxiety may improve by treating an underlying condition, such as ADHD or dyslexia, which could be interfering with your ability to learn, focus, or concentrate.
See a professional counselor—visit your school counselor to learn more about additional educational support and programs that can help you overcome test anxiety.