How to Beat Test Anxiety
You know you have to sit a test for a job or to pursue the training you need, and test anxiety is eating you up. Even though you have studied and think you know your subject inside out, you still cannot shake that sick, anxious feeling in your stomach.
Maybe you fear that when you sit the test your anxiety will take over, your mind will go blank and you will be too nervous to understand, let alone answer the questions. Does this sound like something that happens to you in the lead up to sitting a test? Does the anxiety take over your life the closer the day of the test arrives?
Stop stressing. It is quite normal and many people go through feelings of test anxiety. In actual fact, this nervous energy helps to keep you on edge to perform well in your test. There are some people whose nervousness is so great it can interfere with how they perform in the test.
Test Anxiety – What is It?
So what is test anxiety? Have you ever felt overwhelming nervousness before you sang on stage at school, went for a job interview, or stepped onto the football field? This is similar and is a form of performance anxiety. It can be triggered by a fear of not performing well or being as seen as inadequate.
It affects people in different ways. Have you had butterflies in your stomach, a tension headache or just felt sick to the stomach when called on to test your abilities? Other people break out into a cold seat and start shaking as they wait to start the test. Test anxiety may even cause you to throw up.
What causes Test Anxiety?
Anxiety is the reaction to something you perceive as being stressful. You may put a lot importance on the outcome of the test and blow its difficulty out of proportion. When you ‘stress out’ your body prepares to fight, or for flight, as it senses danger.By focusing on the possible negative outcomes you only fuel your anxiety buildup.
Are you thinking that you will fail, worried the test may be too hard or even worrying about being worried? This is all adding to your body’s stress overload. It becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break if you are not careful.How do you expect to perform well if you put your mind and body under such high levels of stress?
Worriers and perfectionists are the most likely ones to suffer from high levels of anxiety because they fear making mistakes. Anything but a perfect score is a failure to them so their negativity actually makes it more difficult to achieve that perfect score.
Five Tips to help you Beat Test Anxiety
If you or someone you know is paralyzed by test anxiety, here are some things to help you manage your stress levels:
• Use your Stress: If you are feeling stressed, it is likely your body is telling you something important is going to happen. Instead of reacting to it negatively, use it to your advantage. Let it remind you to prepare well for the test, and get a good night’s sleep the night before.
• Get Help: While some anxiety is good, too much may cripple your chances of sitting the test let alone passing it. If you have trouble controlling your anxiety in the lead up to a test, talk to a counselor or someone else to get help with strategies to minimize your stress levels.
• Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: Be prepared for your test. Most people find their anxiety levels lessen when they are confident they know the subject.
• Think Positively: If you think negative thoughts then how do you expect to be anything but stressed? How do you expect to pass? Think positively. Think thoughts like, “I have studied for this test, “I have a good chance of pass of passing”. This will alleviate the levels of anxiety you are feeling.
• Accept Mistakes: If you are a perfectionist then you need to learn that mistakes happen. Even to you. Instead of looking at it as a mistake look at it as a lesson in life, something to learn from.
Beating test anxiety takes time and practice. If you recognize you suffer from higher levels of anxiety than others in the lead up to a test, you are now equipped to lessen your stress.
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