Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety begins to affect exam performance it has become a problem.
What Causes Test Anxiety
Physical Signs of Test Anxiety
- Lack of preparation as indicated by:
- cramming the night before the exam.
- poor time management.
- failure to organize text information.
- poor study habits.
- Worrying about the following:
- past performance on exams.
- how friends and other students are doing.
- the negative consequences of failure.
During an exam, as in any stressful situations, a student may experience any of the following bodily changes:
- sweaty palms
- upset stomach
- rapid heart beat
- tense muscles
Effects of Test Anxiety
How to Reduce 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.
- Mental Blocking:
- Going blank on questions.
- Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over.
- Study and know the material well enough so that you can recall it even if you are under stress.
- Learn and practice good time management and avoid:
- day dreaming
- Build confidence by studying throughout the semester and avoid cramming the night before the exam.
- Learn to concentrate on the material you are studying by:
- generating questions from your textbooks and lecture notes.
- focusing on key words, concepts and examples in your textbooks and lecture notes.
- making charts and outlines which organize the information in your notes and textbooks.
- Use relaxation techniques, for example, taking long deep breaths to relax the body and reduce stress.