Test Anxiety

Test anxiety affects more than 25% of all college students at some time during their college career. Students suffering from test anxiety are often above average in intelligence and ability, but their test scores do not accurately reflect their abilities.

Degrees of test anxiety range from mild to severe, affecting each person differently. Believing that no one else shares these fears can cause the students to feel isolation, shame, and choose to deal with the problem alone rather than seek help. Counseling & Psychological Services can help you work on your test anxiety, call them at 651.962.6780 to set up an appointment.

Following are some general tips to help you cope with test anxiety. Anxiety builds over your lifetime, keep in mind that learning to relax is a skill that takes practice and time.

Before Taking the Test

  • Study consistently and attend class regularly
  • Set realistic study goals and listen to your body
  • Learn to relax when you study. Do deep breathing before, during, and after studying so you associate a relaxed body and mind with learning.
  • Take breaks when you study to keep your body and mind alert.
  • Know as much about the test beforehand as possible. Unexpected surprises create tension.
  • Do not cram or force yourself to stay up all night studying - that can cause tension. If you study the night before the test, set aside a realistic period to study.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • If you must review the morning of a test, do so briefly.
  • Eat nourishing foods the night before and day of the test.
  • Go to class early and sit in your normal spot.
  • Remind yourself it is normal to feel some tension. 

After the Test is Distributed

  • Be realistic and keep the test in perspective. Your entire future probably will not be determined by the outcome of this test.
  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Jot down notes and ideas that come to mind.
  • Go through the test answering the easy questions first. Answer only one question at a time the best you can.
  • Almost everyone blanks on a test occasionally. If they happens, don't panic. STOP. Put your pencil down.
  • Breathe deeply, focus your mind on your breathing and relax. It takes less time to stop and catch your breath and relax than it does to worry.
  • Do not engage in negative self-talk. Focus your mind on the test.