Simple ways to overcome test anxiety for students

Do you feel test anxiety? Test anxiety does not let students perform to the best of their ability. This article explains simple tips to overcome it. Read this article to know how to get rid of test anxiety.


Test anxiety is not uncommon. No matter how studious he is and how well-prepared he is has experienced it. Some experience it in every test they appear and others face it less frequently. Test anxiety does not let students perform to the best of their ability. Students might have covered the whole syllabus and revised the content again and again, but, if they experience anxiety attacks in their examination hall then all of their preparation goes in vain. They will easily forget what they know to the fullest. They will experience various symptoms such as dry mouth, sweaty palms, headache, nauseous feeling, increased heartbeat, a strange sensation in their core and lack of concentration. In short, they panic. It is because of that they will forget everything that they have learnt. Even if they can recollect it from their memory, they will be able to do it only partially. They will remember some points and forget the rest. When they solve their paper with this kind of anxiety, they commit silly mistakes and end up losing lots of marks. It is the reason that students are asked to calm down before the exams to relax their minds. This article explains various simple and effective ways to get rid of test anxiety.

Effective tips to overcome test anxiety

Say no to last-minute preparation

Going through the notes last minute before the warning bell rings is not a good idea to keep the mind calm and relaxed. It is a very common scene in front of the examination halls. Students fail to study the entire year and because of that, they are not able to cover the entire syllabus. They then try to make use of every last second they have to learn those important contents that are hot favourites to appear in the exams. Even the students who are well prepared do the same thing. As soon as they get to know that some question might repeat, they open their notes and go through them to make sure that they don't forget them if it appears in the exam. If students do not want to suffer from test anxiety then they should not indulge in this kind of activity. The reason is that they will trigger panic in themselves and consequently, anxiety will get triggered in their minds. They will end up doubting their preparation. To know the answers to one or two questions that others are discussing outside the exam halls, they will subject themselves to so much anxiety that they will end up forgetting the answers for the rest of the questions that they have learnt.

Never discuss anything related to the subject matter

Students should maintain their peace of mind before and during the exams. When they arrive in the exam hall, they should make it a point to neither read nor have any discussion related to any content of the subject that they are going to appear for the exam. Let the mind be peacefully calm. Let other students do what they are doing. Students are asked to sit in their places a few minutes before the exam commences. Even during that period, students try to search for answers to questions that they do not know. A student who does not want to trigger any test anxiety in him should stay away from discussing anything. It is better to stand alone and focus on oneself if a student has arrived early for the examination. Whether it is outside the exam hall or inside, students should never involve themselves in any kind of discussion such as the subject or some particular topic that is hard to grasp or remember. Students should refrain from talking to anybody and remain silent to keep their state of mind calm and relaxed.

Carefully go through the exam paper

As soon as the exam paper is handed over to the students, it triggers test anxiety in them. It is because they were already in stress and had a feeling that the exam might be tough. Consequently, they will trigger test anxiety in them. Others will trigger it after going through the paper. If they feel that they don't know the answers to many, they will panic. The key is in remaining calm. When the question paper is given to a student, he must carefully read all the questions and instructions. He will then have an idea of how many of those questions he is very well prepared to answer and how many of them he does not have a clear answer to. Always attempt all those questions which are easy and less time-consuming. The difficult ones, more time-consuming and whose answers are not accurately known can be attempted later. This way, the student will not create anxiety and not end up giving wrong answers for all those questions which he is well prepared for. Also, it is important to read the instructions carefully and go through every question twice before attempting it. There is no point in wasting time solving the question or writing the answer for it and then realizing in the end that the formula used for it is wrong. This will only cause a waste of time and trigger test anxiety.

Time is a crucial factor

Many students will trigger test anxiety in the end. When they look at their watch and realize that the time is running out and they have so much left to cover, they panic. Thus, to avoid it, students should create a mental plan and allocate time for every question. This way they will be able to cover their entire paper within the given time frame. If they waste too much time writing or solving one question, they will have less time to solve the rest. Thus, a student has to intelligently divide the time so that he can solve the entire paper within a given time frame and also has enough time to recheck the paper before the final bell rings. If the answer to one question or a set of questions is not known, it is okay to leave some space for them and come back in the end to solve them. If a student creates anxiety that he does not know the answer to those particular questions and also time triggers more anxiety then he will suffer a lot in the end. It is because not only will he commit silly mistakes in solving the paper but also will not have enough time to solve those questions which are easy and where he can easily score marks.

Get a good sleep to reduce test anxiety

There is no point in staying awake the whole night preparing for the exam and then not being able to remember everything that is learnt on the next day in the examination hall. This happens because the mind gets tired. Preparation should not be done one day before or a few hours before the exam. Preparation has to be done throughout the year. The day before the exam is meant only to revise what is already learnt to brush up on memory. Learning anything new is only going to add anxiety to the mind. A student has to get a good night's sleep the day before the exam so that the mind gets relaxed and rejuvenated. When a student feels fresh, he will be able to recollect everything that he learnt. Some students feel that they have to study the entire night as they cannot afford to skip anything. There is no point in doing that. Even if they have covered 100% of the syllabus, they may not be able to recollect everything because of the fatigue they experience the next day. Instead of that, it is better to go to bed on time and wake up fresh and active. When the body is relaxed, the mind feels rejuvenated. Concentration power increases and because of that remembering everything that is learnt becomes easy.

Eat light and healthy

Students who are already in a panic state skip their meals and appear for exams on an empty stomach. This is for sure going to trigger exam-related anxiety in them. Stress easily gets created on an empty stomach. On the other hand, some students do not have enough time to have a nutritious meal and thus, they grab something unhealthy which is high in sugar and calories. Consequently, they will overfill themselves with high calories which is again going to interfere with their performance. Exams are challenging parts of students' lives. When the mind is relaxed and the body is healthy, only then students will be able to take up the challenge. Even if certain questions or the entire paper seem difficult, they will be able to solve it by remembering some or the other part that connects that problem with the solution. Food should not be very low in calories for the student to feel starved. It should not be very high in calories that can cause sleepiness in the examination hall. It should be nutritious enough to keep students active and energized throughout the examination.


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao10 May 2023 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Test anxiety is a real enemy for students. It is like stage fear. It will be more as the test time is nearing and will be at its peak just before receiving the question paper. Sometimes this anxiety makes the students forget what they learned also.

So students should try to be as calm as possible from a few hours before the examinations. I fully agree with the author that discussing with others just a few hours before the examination about the subject may confuse the students and if a question comes on the same subject they will be in confusion and they may not be able to give the best answer.

Reading question papers and time management are two important things. It is better if students practice answering old papers and model papers. That will make them understand the importance of time management and reading questions carefully.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha11 May 2023 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

Test anxiety might crop up within the students from time to time especially when the examination is approaching. Instead of being sentimental, they need to take corrective steps keeping the following points in their minds -

1) They need to ensure that they should not deviate from the plans carefully chalked out.
2) Revision of study-materials should be taken up so that they will have the conceptual clarity of the chapters. If the questions are of objective types carrying negative markings, it would be more relevant to have frequent revisions.
3) Engaging in yoga or physical exercise for a fixed time in a day would help the aspirants in relaxing their strained nerves.

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