Do you usually feel extremely anxious before taking test or appearing for your examination? Do you really want to know if you have test anxiety and ways to overcome it? If yes, then this article is a must-read for you.
Test anxiety is something more than the mere nervous feeling before any test. There is a high feeling of worry, fearfulness, dread, and these all can impact the performance negatively. One can suffer from test anxiety at any age. Read below to know how do you know if you have test anxiety and also on how to overcome test anxiety.
How To Know If You Have Test Anxiety?
Now; how do you know if you have test anxiety? Is there any way you can diagnose or test if you have got test anxiety? Well! Test anxiety can actually be diagnosed with the help of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- IV, which is under the classification of social phobia.(1) Social phobias are primarily characterized by a persistent fear of performance and social situations where embarrassment might happen. The DSM-IV states that for diagnosing if an individual is having social phobia, below four factors must be present.
- The person should show an immediate response of anxiety when exposed to performance or feared social situation.
- The affected person must show several attempts of avoiding performance or social situations.
- The victim should experience a kind of disruption to normal activities because of the avoidance or fear that is associated with the situation.
- The person should have experienced the anxiety symptoms at least for 6 months consistently.
- Some other variables that are related to test anxiety and can be used to diagnose the condition include:
- Perfectionist tendencies and also some kinds of unrealistic expectations.
- Obsessive compulsive disorders.
- Lack of confidence or poor motivation.
- Negative self-esteem, criticism, and self-statements.
- Stereotype threat.
- Poor habits of eating, sleeping, and exercising.(2)
- Inadequate test-taking and study skills.
How to Overcome Test Anxiety?
Tips That Help Overcome Test Anxiety:
Below are some of the tips that help you overcome test anxiety. You need to follow these tips if you are anxious about your upcoming examination or test.
Remain Prepared For The Examination/Test:
Developing good study habits is highly essential. You need to study beforehand, at least 2-3 weeks prior to your examinations. You must try and simulate examination conditions by working on through a practice test, while following the same time constraints.
Develop Fair Test-Taking Skills:
You need to read all the instructions or directions quite carefully, first answer the questions which you know and then get back to the difficult questions. Before you begin writing, outline essays.
Remain focused on the test, and not on other students while appearing the test. Try not to ask or talk with other students about the study material before taking the examination.
Practice Relaxation Techniques:
You can try practicing relaxation techniques such as taking deep and slow breaths, if you feel stressed out or anxious during the test or examinations.
Have A Positive Attitude:
You need to keep a positive attitude for your test, as your attitude actually defines your performance in the test. Do not have any sort of negative thinking before examination.
In order to overcome test anxiety you need to stay healthy. For this, you must get proper sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and let yourself have some “me time” with you. In case you feel really exhausted emotionally, mentally, or physically, it becomes really difficult to focus on the test or examination. So, try to remain healthy and well active to handle the anxiety and stress during examinations.
Talk To A Counselor In A Counseling Center:
You need to consult with a counselor in a counseling center and take best support in case you suffer from test anxiety. There are also offices and programs which are dedicated specifically for helping students and offering additional educational support in order to become successful.
Follow the SQ3R Reading Comprehension Method to Overcome Test Anxiety:
Francis Pleasant Robinson, an Educational researcher had developed the SQ3R Reading Comprehension method. This method was documented in his book named, “Effective Study”. This method actually helps in organizing an individual’s reading and retaining information quite easily.(3) It requires some practice, however; this approach becomes second nature eventually.
In SQ3R reading comprehension method; S- means Survey, Q- refers to Question, R- means Read, R- means Recite, R- refers to Review. Let us take a better look on this method.
Survey for ascertaining an overview of the tests you read. Read the chapter’s introduction, skim the headings of the chapter and read the written summary properly for identifying the important points in the lesson. Read the questions of the chapter and keep those in your mind.
Question the texts you read so as to keep your mind working actively. Rephrase the headings of the chapter as questions and make note of the questions as you keep reading. Make sure you are eventually trying to answer the lists of questions that the author has mentioned in the beginnings as well as ending of the chapter. For review, you need to make use of study guides or workbooks. Once you become perfect in the questioning technique, your test questions seem to be more familiar and easier.
When we talk about “Read”, you need to be known about your reading habits. You must seek for appropriate answers to the questions and look for the primary ideas and key details. You must notice the bold and italicized words in the chapters and also make sure that you know the meaning of those important words. Keep it noted not to skip the graphs, tables, or diagrams and pictures, as these all help you remember the information visually. Try to challenge your own level of understanding of the chapter’s reading.
Recite out loud soon after reading the things that you need to remember. Periodically stop and try to recall the things that you have read. Recall the main headings of the chapter and also the principle ideas under each subheadings of the chapter.
Review the things that you have read so as to find out your weaknesses and your strengths at comprehending the study material. Make sure you look at each of the heading and think about the underlying information of each chapter. Review the summaries of each chapter and determine if you can recite them. Make sure you review at least once in a week and make sure you check your notes from both, the book as well as the class notes on each topic.
Medications and Therapy That Help Overcome Test Anxiety:
If you want to help overcome test anxiety, you can take the help of specific therapy and medications for the same. You need to make a special appointment with your counselor or your healthcare provider and talk about your situation or condition, and your symptoms so as to take the best possible treatments for the same.
Depending on your symptoms’ severity, your doctor might recommend CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, some anti-anxiety medicines, or might be a combination of the both. Cognitive behavioral therapy might help individuals in changing both, the behavior as well as the underlying thoughts that might be contributing to the unwanted feelings or behaviors.
Dos and Don’ts to Overcome Test Anxiety:
Below are some of the dos and don’ts which must be followed to overcome test anxiety.
- Do remind self that it is just a test.
- Do focus on integrating all the details into primary ideas.
- Do reward self with good food and relaxation time after the test.
- Do something really relaxing few hours before taking the test.
- Do say yourself that you will be doing great in your test; and that would really be enough!
- Do not think anything negative about self or the test.
- Do not cram for an examination.
- Do not stay awake late for studying the night prior to your test. You need proper sleep and relaxation.
- Do not talk with people or classmates who generate more of stress on you on the day of your test or examination.
- Have a realistic aim. Do not tell self that you will be the best or be the topper of the test. Keep realistic goals and go for it.
Prevent Test Anxiety:
You can prevent test anxiety or can minimize the symptoms of test anxiety, by following the below mentioned prevention strategies.
- Be prepared for your examination beforehand and keep yourself comfortable prior to the test.
- Have enough of good night sleep that helps you in improving your memory as well as concentration.
- Make sure you try to banish the negative thoughts that might enter your mind and replace them with the positive thoughts. You can start doing this by saying out some positive affirmations; such as, “I have studied my lessons”, “I can overcome this”, “I will do well”, and so on.
- If you start feeling anxious before or during your examinations, start taking some deep breaths through your nose and exhale out through your mouth.
- Make sure that nobody is perfect; and so as you! Do not try and expect to be absolutely perfect.
It is very true that test anxiety can at times be really very much stressful and unpleasant; however, it is even true that the condition is absolutely treatable. In case you are finding it quite difficult to perform well in your tests or examination or if you get too much anxious or stressed out because of your test anxiety then do follow the above mentioned tips and ways to overcome the level of your anxiety. It is also very much essential for you to talk to a counselor or an expert mental health provider and your doctor and take the best advice and treatments for your condition.
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