Taming the Test Anxiety Monster!

Taming the Test Anxiety
What are we dealing with here?
• Anxiety –
– 1- a: painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind
usually over an impending or anticipated ill ; b:
fearful concern or interest; c: a cause of anxiety
– 2: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of
apprehension and fear often marked by
physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and
increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality
and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about
one's capacity to cope with it
• If we’re dealing with your garden variety
anxiety, and it’s not ruining your life, and as
soon the thing making you worry is past your
worry is over, then you may not need to fix
• If your anxiety is paralyzing, or matches more
of the second definition then you may want to
step in with some help.
What are we afraid of with tests?
• Failing it – duh!
• Why is failing a test something to be afraid of?
– It doesn’t kill you
– It doesn’t give you an incurable disease
– It’s not something you can’t fix
– You won’t go to jail over it
• We are afraid because doing well on tests
(especially the big deal tests) matters, and we
know it.
• As a dear friend of mine once said “So what if
you don’t do well? They can’t take your
birthday away over it.”
• So relax and use the following tips to help
yourself do your best and forget the rest.
Tip 1
• Accept the Stress:
– a little stress can be a powerful motivator so be
ready to feel nervous over an important test.
– Use that nervous feeling as the clue to study for a
little while, or get your supplies ready for the big
day, or plan out your test strategy.
– Use the stress to do something other than freak
out more – go for a walk, study some more, tell a
friend about it, anything other
Tip 2
• Ask for help before you are helpless:
– If you know that you get distracted in a test ask
your teacher to put you where there are fewer
– If you know you freeze up on a test ask for tricks
to get unfrozen during the test.
– Ask for help Before the test day; so you can
Tip 3
• Be prepared
– Study a little bit everyday before the test. Prepare
all the way along, so you won’t panic the night
– Take a practice test so you know what you are up
– Get your supplies together well before test day.
Tip 4
• Use the test taking tips your teachers have
told you about:
– Read the questions carefully
– Use the dictionary when it’s allowed
– Highlight or underline the important stuff in the
– Plan your essays
• All that stuff your teachers have trained you to
do – This is the day to use it well!
Tip 5
– Nothing dooms you to panic more than drowning
in negative thoughts.
– This is not the day to allow yourself to think bad
thoughts about yourself.
• Remind yourself that you can do this!
– Accept that you aren’t perfect and you might
make mistakes. This is OK!
– The test doesn’t require perfection, just passing.
Tip 6
• Stay Healthy
– Get plenty of sleep
– Eat a nutritious breakfast
– Don’t overload on sugar on test morning (you’ll crash
halfway through)
• Relax
– Get some exercise before the tests to get rid of the extra
adrenaline your stress is creating.
– Practice some relaxation techniques during the test when
you start feeling that worry:
• Rub your earlobes – I don’t know why it works, but it does
• Roll your shoulders, stretch your arms out to your sides, breathe
deeply – but do it quietly, don’t freak out the kid next to you.
And Remember…
• A test is a measurement - Not of Character, but of
– It can’t tell you who you are or what you’ll become.
• A test can no more tell you what kind of person you are than
a ruler can by telling you how tall you are. It just measures
something about you – not everything about you.
– It can only tell you what you know right now.
• It’s important and you are right to take it
seriously, but it isn’t everything.
You are Gonna Rock these Tests!