Test anxiety, also known as exam anxiety, is a psychological disorder faced mainly by students during or before examinations. Students usually stress out when they have exams upcoming due to nervousness or the pressure of performing well in the exams. The intensity and level of stress differ from person to person. Many individuals can manage the stress and focus on their performance, and many students cannot keep themselves stable, which results in poor performance.
What causes test anxiety?
The reasons that cause exam anxiety in an individual depend on a case-to-case basis. Students quite commonly face nervousness, tension, or stress when it comes to exams or presentations. However, it may not be the same for everyone. Some students face it at a severe level, which dramatically impacts their studies and other life areas.
Following are some causes of test anxiety:
- Poor preparation.
- Fear of failing the exam.
- If one exam does not go well, the individual might get more anxious, and the overall performance may be poor.
- Not understanding the content well and not asking for help.
- The pressure of finishing the test on time.
Symptoms of Test Anxiety
Physical symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Body shakes
- Blurry vision
Psychological symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating or staying focused
- Difficulty in recalling information
- Feeling hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble sleeping
- Getting easily irritated or angry
Some helpful tips for managing test anxiety:
Test anxiety can be managed through a few simple techniques. However, it may not work for everyone depending on individuals. Students who have uncontrollable and severe anxiety should consult an expert as soon as possible so the condition is diagnosed in time and treated appropriately.
- Firstly, set up a revision schedule. Set up the schedule according to the exam date. Break down the days by prioritizing the first exam at the beginning, followed by the other exams. For example, if Mathematics is the first exam, start by revising it first, followed by other subjects.
- Remember to break down the day in a manner so that you get enough rest in between.
- Use post-it notes, a diary, or set-up reminders on the phone about the revision schedule.
- Try to revise the content daily to avoid studying the entire content all at once before the exam.
- Try solving practice papers.
- Eat healthily (try to avoid caffeine).
- Sleep well– maintain a sleep timetable to get adequate sleep.
- Practice deep breathing in between studying.
- On the night before the exam, sleep on time and have dinner at least two hours before sleeping.
- Don’t use your phone before going to bed.
- Try going for a walk or jog.
- Try to avoid sitting for more than an hour in place.
- Try avoiding negative thoughts; if feeling concerned or stressed, talk to a family member about it.
- On the day of the exam, read each question carefully and begin with familiar ones first.
It is important to understand what is test anxiety first to overcome it better. It is advised that families and teachers openly talk with the students before their exams about any concerns they might have or any issues they might be facing.