Tests are a normal, though often dreaded, part of the college experience. It is common to feel stressed or anxious when preparing for or taking a test. These feelings are normal, and at mild-to-moderate levels, can even improve performance. Most students get nervous during testing, but some students experience test anxiety at a level which is physically distressing and interferes with performance. Test anxiety symptoms can range from minor annoyances, such as forgetting a common formula, to overwhelming and debilitating fears. If you experience some of the following symptoms in the context of test-taking, you might be struggling with test anxiety.
Symptoms of test anxiety
What to do if you think you have test anxiety
The sources of test anxiety are poor test preparation, ineffective test-taking strategies, psychological pressures, and poor health habits. Explore the extent to which each of these components applies to you and attempt to make the following changes.
Focus on test preparation:
Use effective test-taking strategies:
Relieve psychological pressures:
Practice healthy behaviors:
Test anxiety audio files
“Tame Test Anxiety” is an accelerated conditioning program developed by Dr. Richard Driscoll to assist students struggling with test anxiety. Research has found that use of this program can result in improvements of half a letter grade. The program consists of two 31-minute sessions. The best benefits come from review and repeated practice of the visualization exercises. The audio files guide you through progressive stages of muscle relaxation, breathing exercises and visualization exercises. The visualization exercises utilize successful learning experiences from your past to help you in your current academic preparation. Initially, you’ll want to complete the entire program (audio files 1-12). In subsequent practice periods, you can skip the introduction and review audio files 3-12.
We thank Dr. Driscoll for allowing Weber State University to be the first university in the United States to post this valuable program.
- Relaxation Exercise
- Brief Review and Booster
- Creating Sense of Interest
- Visualizing Sense of Interest
- Visualizing Curious and Engagement
- Visualizing Study Sessions
- Visualizing Day Before Test
- Visualizing Moment Before Taking the Test
- Visualizing Test Taking
- Visualizing Solving Hard Problems
- Visualizing Emotions after the Test
- Final Stretch
Self-help with TAO
Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) is a platform of free self-help educational modules to help you learn about and change how you think and feel.
The Following Modules are Helpful for Test Anxiety:
- Calming Your Anxiety (Student or Adult Version) Module 1: Understanding Anxiety & Worry
- Calming Your Anxiety (Student or Adult Version) Module 2: Relaxation & Anxiety Reduction
- Calming Your Anxiety (Student or Adult Version) Module 3: Thoughts, Assumptions & Core Beliefs
- Interpersonal Relationships & Communication: Problem Solving
- Calming Your Anxiety (Student or Adult Version) Module 6: Lifestyle Factors