How to Manage Test Anxiety and Perform Better?
9 minutes read
Created: December 31, 2023
Last updated: January 13, 2024
When students have an actual test to write, most of them are a bit nervous, but others develop an intense fear known as test anxiety. This fear could impact anyone even if a student is prepared well. Test anxiety affects performance due to the pressure it creates and one’s wish to perform better.
The stress that develops due to test anxiety can produce a “flight or fight” response, causing the body to release adrenaline which prepares the brain for the worst outcome. This write-up is a guide on how to manage stress anxiety to avoid poor performance and becoming miserable.
Understanding Test Anxiety
First things first, let’s answer the question:
What Is Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety is considered a common type of performance anxiety that affects numerous students before they write their exams. One may develop stress, fear, or become overwhelmed. This type of anxiety can also affect those sitting for a job exam.
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Test Anxiety Symptoms
Symptoms of test anxiety can vary from one person to another. People may display mild or severe symptoms, and students displaying mild symptoms can still sit for their exams and perform well.
On the other hand, those displaying severe test anxiety symptoms may be incapacitated and perform poorly or even develop panic attacks before or during the exams.
Some of the physical test anxiety symptoms can include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dry mouth fainting
Emotional symptoms can include:
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- A feeling of inadequacy
Cognitive and behavioral symptoms that can affect students include:
- Negative self-talk
- Outright avoidance of sitting for exams
Causes of Test Anxiety
You may be wondering, “Why does my child experience test anxiety?” There are numerous potential causes, including but not limited to:
- Fear of Failure: Children, especially those who are high achievers, may fear that poor performance on an exam will disappoint their parents or teachers.
- Poor Test Preparation: Inadequate preparation can lead to anxiety, as children may feel unprepared or overwhelmed by the material.
- Negative Past Experiences: If children have previously performed poorly on tests, they may carry that negative experience into future exams.
Effects of Test Anxiety
The effects of test anxiety can be quite detrimental to a child’s academic success. Here are some ways it may manifest:
- Decreased Performance: Test anxiety can interfere with a child’s ability to concentrate during a test, leading to lower scores than they would otherwise achieve.
- Reduced Confidence: Over time, test anxiety can undermine a child’s confidence in their academic abilities.
- Avoidance Behaviour: In extreme cases, children might start avoiding tests and school altogether to escape the stress.
Overcoming Test Anxiety
The good news is that test anxiety can be managed and overcome. Brighterly is committed to helping your child succeed and have compiled some effective strategies to combat test anxiety:
- Preparation: Proper preparation for exams can boost your child’s confidence and reduce feelings of anxiety. Utilize resources like our math revision materials to aid their study.
- Relaxation Techniques: Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can help calm a child’s nerves before and during a test.
- Positive Thinking: Encourage your child to maintain a positive attitude. Remind them that a single exam does not define their worth or intelligence.
- Professional Help: If your child’s test anxiety is severe, seeking help from a mental health professional can be beneficial.
Tips on How to Deal with Test Anxiety
There are some helpful ways to relieve test anxiety when you are about to sit for your exams. These tips include the following:
1. Start by preparing early
If you have ever been affected by test anxiety, the best strategy you can adopt is to prepare early before your upcoming exams instead of waiting for the last moment to cram for the test. You can begin studying a week or two after the exam timetable is released. Study each subject in small blocks every day.
2. Learn how to conduct your study
Studying for a particular subject requires one to use effective study methods and helpful resources. Thus, you can feel confident as you face your exams and pass them.
How can you reduce math test anxiety? You need to continually test yourself on all the topics you have been taught, get organized, study individually and in a group, and use all the available resources that will help you pass the test.
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3. Create a study plan
Having a clear study plan in place will help you succeed and prepare for the upcoming test. A study plan will help you develop a schedule to study daily. You will also identify which subjects to revise. Thus, create a study plan that you will follow religiously until the exam day.
There are some ways to reduce test anxiety before exams on challenging topics or subjects. You may allocate more time than for easy subjects to prepare properly, regularly consult your lecturers, or ask for help from fellow students who understand those subjects better.
4. Keep a positive attitude
It is always important to remember that the test outcome will not determine your self-worth. Therefore, you need to always remain positive and remind yourself that you are not a failure. When you believe in yourself and develop a positive attitude, you will face the exam with courage.
5. Begin the test with what you know
When you start writing your test, go through the questions and first write the answers that you know for sure. You don’t have to begin with the first question if you don’t understand it because such approach may consume much of your time. You can always go back to attempt complicated questions if time allows.
6. Get an excellent overnight sleep
The night before the exam day, you should better go to bed early and get a good night sleep of at least 8 hours. A good rest will improve your brain memory space and sharpen your concentration the next day. You will also feel fresh before the exam.
7. Stay focused
On the exam day, try to keep your focus on the test alone. Avoid destruction, such as thinking about what you will do after the exam or how your fellow test-takers succeed in the test.
8. Read carefully
Overcoming test anxiety also requires a person to read every question and instruction carefully before attempting them. This approach will help you avoid missing out on any instruction details and provide correct answers.
9. Avoid distractions
Don’t worry about the person seated beside, in front, or at your back during an exam. Find a position where you will avoid destruction. You can sit in the front row if possible if it helps you focus on the test.
If your kids need help, some of the test anxiety tips for elementary students include:
- Help them to prepare little by little
- Ask them what is making them feel nervous
- Find a study method that suits them and makes them feel comfortable
- Boost your child’s self-confidence
- Remind your child when they feel anxious that help is always available
- Make sure your child feels good on the day of the exam
Test Anxiety Treatment
In some cases, overcoming test anxiety may involve the use of treatment methods such as self-help and therapeutic strategies that will reduce the stress levels one is going through before and during an exam. Students can be assisted with test-taking skills and proper study techniques in the preparation process.
While many students can handle the pressure of test anxiety without help, there are helpful resources that one can look for to overcome anxiety before the exam. You may need extra support if your kid is always affected with anxiety before an exam. Make an appointment with your institution counselor, mental health professional, or doctor to get help in dealing with severe cases of test anxiety.
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