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Tips for Testing Anxiety

Test anxiety a combination of physical symptoms and emotional reactions that interfere with one’s ability to properly prepare and/or perform well on tests. Test anxiety symptoms include nausea, sweating, racing heart, worry or depression, difficulty focusing and learning, and study procrastination and avoidance. Here are the do's and dont's in overcoming this.

Do's

  • Talk to a success coach, peer educator, or your professor about your anxiety. Find out what works for you when you study, and create a routine to follow before every exam.
  • Plan a study schedule that begins far in advance of the exam, and do your best to stick to it.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before the test.
  • Be sure to eat and drink water before the test. Your brain needs fuel, and you’ll want to be comfortably full and hydrated.
  • If possible, exercise before the test to relieve tension.
  • Go to the test site or classroom early and avoid discussing the test once there.
  • Bring a stress ball to help you relax during the test—just try not to distract others with it!
  • If you start feeling anxious, concentrate on deep, slow breathing from your belly.
  • Remind yourself that your only job at this point is to answer as many questions correctly as you can.

Don'ts

  • Wait until the day before the test to ask for help.
  • Study up until the last minute; you will stress yourself out and confuse yourself if you try to cram.
  • Rush through the test; skip questions and come back to them if you get too stuck (just be sure to go back!).
  • Let thoughts like, “I should have studied more” or “I need to get an A on this to keep my scholarship!” distract you.
  • Stay focused on the present and your task at hand and think positively and focus on the material you know.