Test anxiety

Causes of test anxiety:

  • Being insufficiently prepared
  • Trying to meet others' expectations
  • Letting grades determine your self-worth
  • Feeling helpless, with no control over what happens
  • Negative "self-talk"
  • Perfectionism
  • Prior negative experiences in test-taking

Suggestions for reducing test anxiety:

  • Improve preparation -- allow time for several review sessions; study actively with plenty of sensory involvement; fit the review to the specific test; avoid cramming
  • Set your own goals for your performance
  • Separate your grade from yourself; realize that a grade is merely a guide to what you need to review
  • Make a structured test-preparation plan; get advice on effective study techniques; learn and practice relaxation techniques
  • Tune in to your "self talk."  Replace negative messages with realistic ones
  • Get some perspective; examine the causes of your perfectionism, possibly with the help of a counselor
  • Realize that test anxiety is a learned response which can be unlearned

Feel free to drop by your counseling center and consult our counselors so that we can provide you with more coping tools and information that would help you manage test anxiety. The Center for Student Learning, Writing and Advising is also another good place to start when it comes to learning ways to manage stress and test anxiety by actually learning more about better study habits and skills. Your academic success is of utmost importance to us!