The Effects Of Test Anxiety On Students
According to the American Test Anxieties Association, schoolwork and exams are reported by students as the most stressful thing in their lives.
Its easy to dismiss test anxiety as something that is simply part of being a student. However, left unchecked, the effects of test anxiety can take a toll on students.
In fact, students who struggle with test anxiety typically fall a half a letter grade below their peers. In addition to academic impacts, text anxiety can affect a students mental health, including lowered self-esteem, confidence, and motivation.
Test Anxiety Facts
- A feeling of lack of control
- Fear of letting down others
- Placing too much emphasis on single tests and exams
- High expectations of his/her own performance
- Using grades as a reflection of self worth
- Poor self-esteem or negative self-talk
The High Achieving Student
Students who have high expectations of themselves or who are perfectionists are likely to struggle with test anxiety. These students tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves and have a hard time dealing with mistakes. This can easily lead to these students becoming overwhelmed during the test, resulting in their mind freezing or going blank.
How Can I Ease Anxiety
Try these when youre feeling anxious or stressed: Take a time-out. Eat well-balanced meals. Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. Get enough sleep. Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Take deep breaths. Count to 10 slowly. Do your best.
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Causes Of Test Anxiety
Fear of failure. While the pressure of doing well on an exam can be motivating, it can be detrimental to your self worth if you associate the grade of the test with your value.
Lack of preparation. Waiting until the last minute or not studying at all can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Poor test history. Not succeeding on the previous exam can make you anxious for the next exam. It is important to remember to stay in the present moment when taking an exam so you remain focused. Dont dwell on the past.
High pressure. If you need a certain grade to pass the class, it could increase your test anxiety.
Perfectionism. Perfectionism is having extremely high performance expectations for yourself. Research studies show that students who have high perfectionism and high self-criticism tend to have high test anxiety and do worse on exams. If you struggle with perfectionism, try to let it go. Make sure to take the time to recognize when you have worked hard and allow yourself to make mistakes.
Symptoms Of Test Anxiety
Test anxiety might look different from student to student, but the following is a list of possible symptoms you might experience:
Physical symptoms: Headache, nausea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, and feeling faint. Test anxiety can also cause panic attacks, which are the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which you may feel like you are unable to breathe or like you are having a heart attack.
Emotional symptoms: Feelings of stress, fear, helplessness, and disappointment, negative thoughts , mind going blank, and racing thoughts.
Behavioral/cognitive symptoms: Difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively, comparing yourself to others, and procrastinating.
Anxiety Test: Anxiety Test Information
Anxiousness tests one’s ability to cope with certain situations, and it can present itself in a variety of situations. This online quiz will identify potential symptoms of this disorder through a questionnaire and recommend treatments and further diagnosis of the symptoms you are experiencing. After the anxiety quiz, speaking to a licensed professional about the questionnaire will help skill you with the necessary tools to cope with symptoms you have identified.
Regardless of the mental illness or mental health disorder you may be facing, there are resources for you to improve your quality of life and cultivate an overall feeling of wellness. Don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you need and deserve, regardless of what you may be confronted with.
Signs of Anxiety
Signs of an anxiety disorder can differ from person to person. Possible symptoms of anxiousness include:
- Nervousness or restlessness
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Weakness or fatigue
- Gastrointestinal issues
Panic attacks are another common symptom of these disorders. Panic attacks occur when you have a sudden feeling of overwhelming panic and fear. This can cause a racing heart, trouble breathing, chest pain, and dizziness. Panic attacks typically have a specific trigger and the symptoms eventually pass.
Different types of disorders can cause different symptoms. Common types of anxiousness in these disorders include:
How is Anxiety Treated?
What Is Test Anxiety
The term test anxiety is used to describe the physical and mental symptoms that some people experience before, during, and after taking a test. Test anxiety is more than just nervousness. It can be a combination of physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, feeling sick to your stomach, dry mouth, and dizziness. Test anxiety can also be mental symptoms such as trouble concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, or forgetting what you are supposed to know.
Test anxiety might arise in any type of situation where you are expected to perform well and someone is watching you do it. This could include tests in school or on the job, athletic competitions, performances in front of an audience like music recitals or plays, and even public speaking experiences like giving a toast at a wedding or making a presentation. Not everyone experiences test anxiety when they have to perform in front of others and not everyone who takes tests has test anxiety. But for those who do experience it, the stress of taking a test can make it difficult to concentrate and focus on the task at hand which may cause them to do poorly on the test.
Concepts And Measures Of Test Anxiety
Test anxiety may be defined as anxiety which subjectively relates to tests and their consequences . Typically, being afraid of failing a test, and of the consequences of failing, is at the heart of this emotion. Test anxiety can be experienced both before and during the taking of a test. Seen from the perspective of trait-state conceptions of anxiety, such anxiety is a state emotion when it relates to a specified test and is experienced before or during that test. As it is experienced habitually over extended periods of time and for dispositional reasons, test anxiety is a situation-specific type of trait anxiety. Trait test anxiety may be an important part of a student’s personality.
The term achievement anxiety has sometimes been used interchangeably with test anxiety. Achievement anxiety, however, may also relate to situations normally not defined as being tests . Anxiety related to such situations may be similar to test anxiety. An example is competitive anxiety in sport.
M. Zeidner, in, 2010
Tips For Taking The Test
People who have test anxiety often experience heightened symptoms the day before the exam. While its important to study for a couple of hours, cramming material into your head all day and night before the exam will only increase your anxiety and decrease your concentration. If you are becoming more anxious by the hour, try these stress-reducing ideas:
Make time for exercise. This isnt the time to meet with a personal trainer for that boot-camp-style workout, but about 30 minutes of aerobic activity can ease your stress level and help you to function better. If you arent in shape and have not been exercising regularly, just go for a walk around the block or do something else that gets you moving.
Dont do anything overly tiring. This should go without saying, but dont wear yourself out the day before your exam. Save trips to the amusement park and home-remodeling projects for another day.
Review your test-anxiety emergency plan. If you panic during tests, try to think about these steps ahead of time:
- 1) accept the anxiety as normal
- 2) practice deep breathing
- 3) make a fist and squeeze tight, then relax your fist and imagine your whole body relaxing.
You might want to practice these steps a few times the day before the exam, so that you know exactly what to do.
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Sampling And Selection Of Participants
All fourth year medical students of Penang Medical College who were undertaking the Ophthalmology clinical examination were invited to participate in this study. Students were recruited for the study upon consent. Participants were then given unique identification codes for administrative purposes while maintaining anonymity.
Coping With Test Anxiety
So what exactly can you do to prevent or minimize test anxiety? Here are some strategies to help:
- Avoid the perfectionist trap. Don’t expect to be perfect. We all make mistakes and that’s okay. Knowing you’ve done your best and worked hard is really all that matters, not perfection.
- Banish the negative thoughts. If you start to have anxious or defeated thoughts, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I didn’t study hard enough,” or “I can’t do this,” push those thoughts away and replace them with positive thoughts. “I can do this,” “I know the material,” and “I studied hard,” can go far in helping to manage your stress level when taking a test.
- Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep will help your concentration and memory.
- Make sure you’re prepared. That means studying for the test early until you feel comfortable with the material. Don’t wait until the night before. If you aren’t sure how to study, ask your teacher or parent for help. Being prepared will boost your confidence, which will lessen your test anxiety.
- Take deep breaths. If you start to feel anxious while you’re taking your test, deep breathing may be useful for reducing anxiety. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Work through each question or problem one at a time, taking a deep breath in between each one as needed. Making sure you are giving your lungs plenty of oxygen can help your focus and sense of calm.
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Dealing With Test Anxiety
Learning strategies for better test preparation is a great first step into reducing your test anxiety. Finding good stress-management techniques are also crucial for improving mindset and reducing stress and anxiety. If you haven’t already, please visit our Mindset Matters module.
Techniques you can try:
How Is Test Anxiety Measured
The Test Anxiety Measure for College Students The TAM-C consists of six scales, five test anxiety scales and one Facilitating Anxiety scale.
What are the signs of test anxiety?
Headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness and feeling faint can all occur. Test anxiety can lead to a panic attack, which is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which individuals may feel like they are unable to breathe or having a heart attack. Emotional symptoms.
How to overcome test anxiety?
Eat well. Skip the junk food and nourish your body and brain with healthy food,not just the day of the exam but always.
Implications And Future Directions
We have introduced test anxiety as a major predictor of performance and have presented the basic framework of COR theory and offered it as a possible explanatory model for the study of assessment of student learning, stress, and anxiety. COR theory may be applicable to stress during testing situations as resources are often lost and challenged under such circumstances. Testing and assessment might produce a loss of resources and the consequences of such circumstances are often long term. For students, increasing pressure to perform well in tests, combined with cognitive interference, a lack of self-efficacy and motivation, as well as negative life conditions , can lead to test anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. This, in turn, can cause students to stop trying to improve their performance. Consistent evidence of poor performance repeatedly reported to families, peers, and to the public can result in a long-lasting loss spiral.
COR theory also provides guidance for future research questions. Although much is known about stress, anxiety, and coping in evaluative settings on an individually perceived and deficit-focused level, a resource-oriented perspective leads to new questions. How can teachers help their students want to learn? How do they encourage them to feel self-efficacious and take responsibility for maximizing their own success? How can assessment be used not as a source of stress and anxiety but as a source of confidence? How can we provoke a gain spiral?
Ways To Help Overcome Test Anxiety
Fortunately, there are steps that students can take to alleviate these unpleasant and oftentimes harmful symptoms.
Some ways to help overcome test anxiety include:
- Practice stress management strategies. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help you to relax before and during a test.
- Make lifestyle modifications. Self-care habits such as getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals can be helpful for managing symptoms of anxiety.
- Establish good habits. Work on developing good study habits and make sure you are well-prepared for tests. One good way to do this is to reward yourself for the goals you set as you study.
- Learn to accept mistakes. Don’t connect your self-worth to the test’s outcome. It’s one test and your worthwhileness as a person is not dependent on grades.
- Minimize distractions. Focus on the test and try not to get distracted by interfering thoughts.
While students often try to deal with test anxiety on their own, there are resources available that can help. If you or your child need extra support, make an appointment with a school counselor, doctor, or mental health professional.
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Concepts Of Test Anxiety
Test anxiety is defined as the anxiety related to taking tests that is experienced before and during test taking . At the heart of this emotion is the fear of failing a test and of the consequences associated with failure. Similar to other emotions, test anxiety is comprised of a complex array of component processes. These processes can include affective components in terms of uneasy, nervous feelings physiological components including physiological activation and symptoms such as increased heart rate, increased respiration rate, or sweating cognitive components involving worries about possible failure and its consequences motivational components in terms of motivation to avoid failure and impulses to escape from the situation and behavioral components in terms of facial and postural expression of anxiety. Although a prototypical case of intense test anxiety comprises all of these components, they are only loosely coupled, and not all of them need to be present in all episodes of test anxiety.
P. Buchwald, C. Schwarzer, in, 2010
Ways To Overcome Test Anxiety
Has this ever happened to you? Youve been studying hard for your chemistry midterm, but when you walk into your exam, your mind goes blank. As you sit down to start your test, you notice your sweaty palms and a pit in your stomach.
If these classic signs of test anxiety sound familiar, your grades and test scores may not reflect your true abilities. Learn ways to manage test anxiety before and during a stressful test.
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Tapping on anything while you are taking a test can be distracting to yourself and others around you. This behavior can make you feel like you have an extra source of energy that needs to be released in some way before taking the test.
Wringing your hands is another nervous habit that results from feeling anxious about taking a test. This behavior can show how worried you are about taking a test and trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
The only way to get rid of nervous habits during test anxiety for good is to stop doing them. If you can’t stop, try replacing the habit with another one that doesn’t bother other people and isn’t going to cause you any physical harm.
Test anxiety can cause physical symptoms like sweating, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea and dizziness.
Can Anxiety Be Overcome
Fortunately, anxiety is highly treatable. Self-help strategies to overcome anxiety can be helpful, but it is also important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. By taking steps to get better, you can help ensure that your anxiety isnt keeping you from achieving the things you want to do.
Letting Go Of Test Anxiety
If you freeze during tests and flub questions when you know the answers, you might be suffering from test anxiety. A little tension before a test is good. That tingly, butterflies in the stomach feeling you get from extra adrenaline can sharpen your awareness and keep you alert. Sometimes, however, tension is persistent and extreme. It causes loss of sleep, appetite, and sometimes even hair. That kind of tension is damaging. It is a symptom of test anxiety, and it can prevent you from doing your best on exams. Other symptoms include nervousness, fear, dread, irritability, and a sense of hopelessness.
Boredom also can be a symptom of test anxiety. Frequent yawning immediately before a test is a common reaction. Yawning looks like boredom, and it is often a sign of tension. It means oxygen is not getting to the brain because the body is tense. A yawn is one way the body increases its supply of oxygen.
You might experience headaches, an inability to concentrate, or craving for food. For some people, test anxiety makes asthma or high blood pressure worse. During an exam, symptoms can include confusion, panic, mental blocks, fainting, sweaty palms or nausea.
Symptoms after a test can include:
How Can You Develop Anxiety
Risk factors Trauma. Children who endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in life. Stress due to an illness. Stress buildup. Personality. Other mental health disorders. Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder. Drugs or alcohol.
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