What Can I Do About Test Anxiety?

Effective control of test anxiety involves working on several aspects.

 Examine your attitudes toward testing.

  • Think about why you become anxious when taking a test.
  • Learn to set realistic expectations for yourself that are neither too high nor too low.
  • Identify negative or self-defeating thinking that undermines your confidence in yourself.  E.g. “I’m going to bomb this test.”
  • Use logic to replace negative thinking with more positive, realistic thoughts such as “I have a lot of material to learn but I will stick to my schedule and concentrate.”
  • If you need help, seek a trained professional counselor.  Check the resources on the back of this brochure.

Learn productive studying techniques.

  • Study in the same place all the time where you will not be interrupted.
  • Develop a study schedule.  Several short review sessions are more effective than a single long one.
  • Attend every class session.  Professors often highlight points in lectures that will appear on exams.
  • Take efficient notes in a notebook.  Read over your notes the same day.  Keep notes organized and legible.
  • Ask professors for extra help.
  • Read textbooks effectively.  Underline and review important points that are likely to be tested.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam.  Staying up late and cramming leads to fatigue, poor retention of the material, and reduced concentration, all of which contribute to anxiety.

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