Taming the Test Anxiety Monster!
What are we dealing with here?
Anxiety –1-a:painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill ;b:fearful concern or interest;c:a cause of anxiety2:an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it
If we’re dealing with your garden variety anxiety, and it’s not ruining your life, and as soon the thing making you worry is past your worry is over, then you may not need to fix much.If your anxiety is paralyzing, or matches more of the second definition then you may want to step in with some help.
What are we afraid of with tests?
Failing it – duh!Why is failing a test something to be afraid of?It doesn’t kill youIt doesn’t give you an incurable diseaseIt’s not something you can’t fixYou won’t go to jail over itWe are afraid because doing well on tests (especially the big deal tests) matters, and we know it.
As a dear friend of mine once said “So what if you don’t do well? They can’t take your birthday away over it.”So relax and use the following tips to help yourself do your best and forget the rest.
Accept the Stress:a little stress can be a powerful motivator so be ready to feel nervous over an important test.Use that nervous feeling as the clue to study for a little while, or get your supplies ready for the big day, or plan out your test strategy.Use the stress to do something other than freak out more – go for a walk, study some more, tell a friend about it, anything other
Ask for help before you are helpless:If you know that you get distracted in a test ask your teacher to put you where there are fewer distractions.If you know you freeze up on a test ask for tricks to get unfrozen during the test.Ask for helpBefore the test day;so you can practice.
Be preparedStudy a little bit everyday before the test. Prepare all the way along, so you won’t panic the night before.Take a practice test so you know what you are up against.Get your supplies together well before test day.
Use the test taking tips your teachers have told you about:Read the questions carefullyUse the dictionary when it’s allowedHighlight or underline the important stuff in the questionPlan your essaysAll that stuff your teachers have trained you to do – This is the day to use it well!
Stay POSITIVE!Nothing dooms you to panic more than drowning in negative thoughts.This is not the day to allow yourself to think bad thoughts about yourself.Remind yourself that you can do this!Accept that you aren’t perfect and you might make mistakes. This is OK!The test doesn’t require perfection, just passing.
Stay HealthyGet plenty of sleepEat a nutritious breakfastDon’t overload on sugar on test morning (you’ll crash halfway through)RelaxGet some exercise before the tests to get rid of the extra adrenaline your stress is creating.Practice some relaxation techniques during the test when you start feeling that worry:Rub your earlobes – I don’t know why it works, but it doesRoll your shoulders, stretch your arms out to your sides, breathe deeply – but do it quietly, don’t freak out the kid next to you.
A test is a measurement - Not of Character, but of academics.It can’t tell you who you are or what you’ll become.A test can no more tell you what kind of person you are than a ruler can by telling you how tall you are. It just measures something about you – not everything about you.It can only tell you what you know right now.It’s important and you are right to take it seriously, but it isn’t everything.
You areGonnaRock these Tests!