No matter how much you prepare for tests, if you have anxiety when it comes time to take them, all of your hard work and study efforts may seem to dissipate before your own eyes. Test anxiety, and anxiety in general, is no new phenomenon for American students. According to a study done just a few years ago, approximately 54% of college students described their general anxiety as overwhelming. In addition, 61% of high school students experienced test anxiety sometimes, while 26% experienced it nearly all the time.
As students progress through the later years of their education, test anxiety grows to be a more prevalent problem. With the increase in testing and test requirements within the education system, especially testing in preparation for college, it makes sense that those who experience this particular anxiety would see an increase in debilitating effects. This can affect academic performance, limit memory capacity, and even result in physical ailments. It can appear as differences in learning approaches, lack of speed while taking tests, and apparent memory or skill losses at test time. In other words, test anxiety masks a student’s true intellectual abilities.
What Can Be Done?
It is obvious that test anxiety affects many students within the educational system, and with such a detrimental outcome for the students who experience it, something must be done to combat it. If you are a student who suffers with test anxiety, here are a few ways you can Cultivate your best results and score your highest.
Share Your Experience
Normalizing the discussion around test anxiety can prove to be extremely beneficial in combating it. Talking about your experiences may help you realize that you are not alone in what you are going through. This alone can be an effective way to gain some control in your academic struggles, and it can let others around you know where you are at and how they can possibly support you. A conversation about your test anxiety can potentially help you determine the source of it as well, and can lead to implementable solutions.
Learn More About It
Knowledge is a powerful tool. Learning about how anxiety works inside your brain on a biological and neurochemical level can give you insight on how to self-regulate. Understanding the multi-layered effects that stress and the hormones that result from continued stress and anxiety can allow you to pinpoint what symptoms are directly correlated to your experience with test anxiety. Simply knowing the roots of your feelings can make them less overwhelming and can assist you with regaining control of your academic achievements.
Be Kind to Yourself
How you foster your own growth and your inner voice have a tremendous effect on how your brain functions. Knowing where your feelings of anxiety are coming from can help you determine the best ways to take care of yourself in order to prevent or alleviate it. Taking care of yourself by doing things that calm your mind, and speaking positive affirmations can alter your thought process and your experience with anxiety. Hold yourself accountable and challenge negative self-talk. Build yourself up in the same way that you build up others, encourage your capabilities, and watch your confidence improve.
Celebrate Every Win
Instead of focusing on struggles or past experiences with test anxiety, be mindful of every step of forward progress that you make. Acknowledge every success and celebrate every win. Adjusting your mentality to congratulate yourself puts your focus on what you are capable of achieving, instead of what difficulties you may need to overcome to achieve it.
Preparing yourself for any test takes dedication. Making sure that you are familiar with the subject matter, studying effectively, and putting yourself in a position for success can work wonders for alleviating stress that surrounds testing and preparing for college. If you are looking for additional ways that you can improve your test-taking and college prep experiences, get in touch with Cultivate. We are in the business of walking with you as you grow through the college admissions process, and we offer many solutions to help guide you to your best results.