What does test anxiety feel like?
Although it varies from person to person, the most common symptoms are:
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Forgetting information that you previously learned
- A sudden headache
- Feelings of tension, a rapid pulse or sweating
What can I do?
It's not uncommon to suddenly feel panic during a test, but you can use certain techniques to bypass it and get yourself back on track.
Make sure you have a sweater or long-sleeved shirt with you in case you get cold. Bring some water, if it's permitted, and a spare pencil. Arrive early enough to choose the seat you want - somewhere you'll feel safe and won't be distracted.
During the test:
- Put your pencil down, close your eyes, and take 5 deep breaths. Hold each one for a count of 5.
- Consciously try to relax any tense muscles - roll your head, stretch your arms, arch your back.
- Play a soothing piece of music in your head.
- Tell yourself, "I can do this."
- Remind yourself of other daunting goals that you reached.
- Focus on just one question at a time. Don't worry about the others.
- Picture the reward you promised yourself for finishing well.
You can even just resharpen your pencil - anything that gets your mind back in focus (and doesn't distract the other students, of course!).