General-Purpose Learning Strategies for Test Anxiety
Test anxiety refers to a complex of physiological and emotional responses to tension or stress resulting from apprehension for upcoming exams. This state of distress and uneasiness is often marked by muscle tension, headaches, stomach aches, sleepiness or sleeplessness, excessive sweating, acne breakouts, fever blisters, shakiness, depression, irritability, anger, panic, lack of confidence, helplessness, and memory loss.
The effects of test anxiety vary widely in nature and severity from one student to another. Some students are mildly affected by anxiety, and may only experience one or two of the symptoms. Others, however, may experience symptoms of anxiety so severe that they are greatly incapacitated.
Many researchers suggest that a little worry is good for students because it keeps them alert and task-oriented. Excessive worry, on the other hand, can be very deleterious and debilitating for students as it leads to mental blocks and the other problems listed above.
Information about the causes of tension and stress and questionnaires for self-assessing one's vulnerability to stress and test anxiety are provided below.