Writing tests can be very stressful and sometimes cause a type of anxiety known as test anxiety. Unfortunately, test anxiety can have a negative impact on test performance, lowering a student’s grades. Even if they know the material well, it may not be demonstrated properly on a test. Any type of anxiety can be very daunting to confront, but there are steps you can take to help you overcome or reduce its effect on your life.
The first important thing to remember is to breathe. This may sound obvious, but focusing on your breath and practicing deep breathing can help relax and calm you down. Another good way to relax your body a bit is to try tensing up your muscles then slowly relaxing them. Try starting with certain areas of the body, like your shoulders, then move on to other areas. This technique will help you be more aware of your body and in control of how it feels. Try practicing these techniques, or any other one that helps you calm down, before the test. If you are more familiar with the process of calming yourself down it will be much easier to do when you are in a stressful situation.
Prepare and Build Confidence
When you study, make small step-by-step goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. Start studying well ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to prepare. Doing frequent practice and review will give you a solid understanding of the content and will build your confidence. During the test, and before, try to keep your thoughts positive. Telling yourself that you know the material and are going to do well will help to convince you that it’s true. If you reach a question you don’t know how to do, skip it and move on to an easier one, then go back to it at the end so you don’t get caught up worrying about one question for the entire time.
Maintain Your Physical Health
Your physical health and well being has an impact on your mental state. It’s important to make sure to get enough sleep the night before a test so that you can think clearly. Also, try to avoid staying up too late in general, because going to bed early one night does not make up for days or weeks of sleep deprivation. Don’t forget to also eat regular healthy meals, and don’t skip breakfast the morning of a test. You want your body functioning in top condition while you’re writing. Another key aspect of your health is to make sure you are getting enough physical activity. You can join an extracurricular sports team, or if that’s not for you even leisurely activities like skating, swimming, going for a long walk, or running. Anything that gets you up and moving will work!
Your teacher may be able to make accommodations for you if you are suffering from anxiety, so don’t be afraid to let them know if this is the case. Sometimes teachers will let students write their tests in a different, more relaxed location, or have extra time to write it. You are not alone if you are suffering from anxiety, your family, friends and teachers are all people who care about you and you can turn to for support. Follow the above tips to help reduce your stress and anxiety caused by tests and minimize the impact they have on your life/academics.
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