How to deal with test anxiety


Exams are here and in just a few more weeks they will be nipping at our toes again. The chief concern amongst many students is performance. Stress can overwhelm you. When something you just read immediately is forgotten is called test anxiety. Stress is a normal part of life. For certain life events, like proposing to your beloved, job interview, try-outs for Varsity and yes, tests, result in further stress than we are regularly accustomed to. This affects performance by either bringing out our perfections or amplifying our flaws. Stress can assist us, by perhaps making us study more to ensuring success. Stress can never be eliminated from our lives. Problems begin when it prevents us from achieving our goals. The stress a student feels when they are unprepared or unable to grasp the test concepts is not anxiety. After research I found that test anxiety is a learned behaviour, a habit and can be unlearned. Anxiety from failing to study or not understanding the content, is solved by beginning to study sooner. More retention occurs, answers are easier to recall. Use drop in sessions offered by A-Z Learning Services in the Library for your courses concerns. Organizing time and materials promotes calmness and assists you in studying so less anxiety occurs. Consider the pain avoided during the test and when receiving your marks.

Real test anxiety is different. Students are literally too afraid to physically write the test. Some early signs of test anxiety are sweaty hands and feet, nausea, headaches, negative thoughts, avoidance, which impacts your ability to plan your studies, difficulty breathing or feeling the world is closing in. Help exists at Brock for students with this problem. But prior to accessing it you need documentation, which takes time, begin this early and have the accommodations in place before tests happen.

Try a holistic approach. Deep breathing, visualization techniques and progressive muscle relaxation relax you prior to either studying or the moments before writing the test. Also useful is coping imagery, and kind to yourself avoids low self-esteem from test anxiety. Always remember the entire course of your whole future and life continues long after University days are over. Students with test anxiety feel they cannot reach their goal. It is untrue. When things are explained differently then you understand. It’s a communications issue. You CAN do this! You got into University, trust me, tons of people don’t. No perfectionism.  You are not a “failure,”


-Jennifer Nixon, Contributor 

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