Understanding test anxiety is the first step to tackling it. In this blog, I want to give you some background information that will help you stop the feelings associated with test anxiety.
If you are about to do a test and you are feeling excessively anxious you probably have test anxiety. You might also be suffering from bodily complaints such as headaches, digestive problems or poor sleep patterns. If this is you it’s time to do something about it and get some help.
Test anxiety can also be called exam anxiety or performance anxiety. It can happen to anyone of any age or background and it can be related to any type of test. For example, people can become anxious when they have school, college or university tests, assignment deadlines to meet or exams. People learning to drive can become anxious when they go for their driving test. Other people might become anxious if they are in a competition such as running a race, performing in front of an audience or going for an interview.
Test anxiety has been a topic for discussion since around the 1950s and has resulted in many research studies. A little bit of pressure is good because it helps us to meet deadlines and get focused. It’s natural that we all want to find new ways to learn and develop. However, no one wants the excessive anxiety that is associated with measuring our knowledge and skills in tests.
Test anxiety puts people in stressful situations where the situation is thought of as being too difficult and the person believes that they are inadequate and can’t deal with the task. This leads from a stressful period to a state of heightened self-awareness.
The person suffering from test anxiety has a belief that they are not up to their own standards so they start judging themselves and conclude that they are not good enough. They believe that they can’t cope with the test or that they haven’t got the knowledge or skills to pass. The person feels helpless and stuck. They also feel under threat. This might be the threat of being judged by the people that they want to impress or the threat of not getting a promotion if they are doing a test for work or career purposes. Other emotions can be aroused such as worry and a vicious cycle begins of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
Many people try to get past their test anxiety by cramming more and more revision into the day. The problem is that the more people become anxious then the more difficult it is for them to study. So this tactic rarely works when you are anxious because anxious people need to relax.
Test anxiety must start with an acknowledgement that too much studying in a short time isn’t beneficial. We all need balance in life to perform at our best. This means eating regularly, getting enough sleep and exercise and having fun and being with good friends and family. But if you are studying then you must also include periods of regular revision.
Once you have acknowledged that you are very anxious about your test then consider developing a timetable or plan so that you can include relaxation time. People may also need additional help from family, teachers, friends or therapists. If you have health-related issues then you should also speak to your doctor.
So finally, if you are feeling anxious about a test do something today to stop that cycle of negativity because it will prevent you from doing your best.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and /or hypnotherapy are two methods offered by Awaken the Change. Contact me for a free initial consultation and find out more.