Anxiety Depression Treatment

Control Anxiety Tests


Anxiety currently afflicts more than 20 million Americans, making it the most common mental illness in the US. Test anxiety is actually a type of performance anxiety - a feeling someone might have in a situation where performance really counts or when the pressure's on to do well. Anxiety can be labeled as "anticipatory anxiety" if you feel distress while studying and when thinking about what might happen when you take a test. Anxiety can be labeled as "situational anxiety" if it occurs while taking a test.

Effects of Test Anxiety

  • Having difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper.
  • Having difficulty organizing your thoughts.
  • Having difficulty retrieving key words and concepts when answering essay questions.
  • Doing poorly on an exam even though you know the material.
  • Going blank on questions.
  • Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over.

How to Cope with Test Anxiety?

The effect test anxiety has on a person's thinking abilities is a major problem which may cause the person's mind to go blank or result in many thoughts racing through the mind all of which is very hard to control.

Be cautious about talking to other students about the exam material just before going into the exam, especially if this will make you more anxious.

Test anxiety can be a real problem when someone is so stressed out over a test that he or she can't get past the nervousness to focus on the test questions and do his or her best work.

Dealing with Test Anxiety

Aerobic exercise will help you to release anxiety and excess energy and, as a result, reduce body tension.

Start work even in small amounts and a feeling of control will come from your activity. Procrastinate and you will only feed your anxiety and worry!

As you anticipate the exam, think positively, e.g., "I can do OK on this exam. I've studied and I know my stuff."
Engage in "thought stopping" if you find that you are worrying a lot, comparing yourself to your peers, or thinking about what others may say about your performance on this exam.

Managing test anxiety

Try to describe the anxiety. Focus your attention on your anxiety and think about the feelings it causes: how large is it? Where is it located in your body? What is its color, its shape, and its texture? If you can completely experience a physical sensation it will often disappear.

Keep a positive attitude - develop reasonable expectations; do not allow your grades to become dependent on the outcome of one exam; avoid negative and irrational thoughts about catastrophic results; set up a system of rewards for dedicated studying and good test performance; encourage yourself

Maintain a healthy lifestyle:get enough sleep, good nutrition, exercise, some personal "down" time, and a reasonable amount of social interaction.

Test anxiety help

To help ease the test anxiety one may treat themselves once the exam. Some level of nervousness is experienced by everyone before a test and a little bit of nervousness may actually be helpful. It may only be concluded that a person is suffering from test anxiety when the level of nervousness or tension becomes overwhelming.

Before you go to bed on the night before the exam, organize anything that you will need for the exam -- pen, pencil, ruler, eraser, calculator, etc. Double check the time of the exam and the location.

Combat test anxiety during a test include:

  • Engage in deep breathing for 2-5 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on the air going in and out of your lungs. Take long, deep breaths, fill your lungs and abdomen, hold your breath, and then exhale.
  • Learn good test-taking skills - do not panic if you can't remember something right away; answer questions you know well first, and then go back to other ones; read questions and directions carefully before you begin; outline essays before you begin to write; keep short-answers short; don't spend a lot of time reviewing answers
  • Sit in a location in the exam room where you will be distracted as little as possible.
  • As the papers are distributed, calm yourself by taking some slow deep breaths.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have, or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.