Top 5 Tips for Overcoming Test Anxiety
Top 5 Tips for Overcoming Test Anxiety
By Erika Flint
Now that school is back in session for most students, it's a good time to go over the best strategies for overcoming test anxiety.
- Realize that a little anxiety is normal Anxiety is your body's way of offering you the energy needed to perform well on a test. Using that energy to your advantage however, is often challenging. So just realize that a little anxiety is normal, and even good.
- Preparation is key, but even if you're prepared, anxiety over doing well can be overwhelming. Before the test remind yourself how well you prepared for the exam. If you're unable to prepare as well as you would like, remind yourself that you will use all of your resources and do the best you can, and that nothing more is even possible.
- Use relaxation techniques to remain calm
- Focus your gaze on a spot in the room, allow your eyes to lose focus, and breathe in a long deep breath, listening to the sound of your breath entering and leaving your body. Do this 2 times, and in between each section of the test if there are breaks. Doing this simply quiets the natural freeze, flight or fight response and allows you to focus on the exam.
- Another technique to use if you're feeling anxiety during the exam, is to imagine that all of your anxiety is captured within a helium balloon which you safely release into the sky. As it begins to float away, your anxiety is becoming smaller and smaller as it floats into the sky in the balloon, leaving the earth's atmosphere, and eventually travels so far away and becomes so small, that the anxiety is now in the outskirts of our solar system and traveling toward the edges of the milky way. Any anxiety inside you will likely begin to feel small and distant, allowing you to once again focus on the exam. Allow this visualization to take a mere 15 seconds to complete so you don't waste precious test taking time.
- Learn good test taking strategies Some of my favorites are:
- skip the question if you don't know the answer, and move to the next questions. Return to it later after you have answered everything you know. If you can't get started on an essay question, then start "in the middle", you can fill in the beginning later.
- don't panic, if you do remember tip #3 - use your relaxation techniques to remain calm and focus
- Use visualization techniques to set an expectation of success
- Visualization is used regularly by professional athletes and performers to create an expectation of success - and you can do the same.Before the exam, imagine yourself remaining calm, relaxed, and focused during the test. Here's how to do it :Imagine yourself in the room taking the exam. Picture yourself answering every question thoughtfully and to the best of your ability. Imagine that you are perfectly prepared for the exam, and you easily and effortlessly recall the answer to every question. Picture yourself entering and exiting the room full of confidence and success. Use all 5 senses in the visualization if possible, to strengthen it. Imagine what the room smells like, looks like, and how calm and confident you feel inside, hear the sounds of other students taking the exam, and fell how it feels to sit in the chair you sit in for the exam, and how your clothes feel on your body. Make the visualization as real as possible, and only use positive mental imagery of you remaining calm, focused, and confident.Doing this sets a mental expectation of success. When it's time to take the test, your mind will already expect things to go as you imagined. Remember that during the real exam, things will not be exactly as you imagined them, and that is expected. What you can expect to remain the same is how you are able to stay calm, relaxed, focused, and confident.
I know these tips can work for you, and I hope you find them useful. What other techniques have you tried for overcoming test anxiety? I'd like to hear from you - feel free to leave me a comment with your favorite techniques.