Reducing Test Anxiety and Stress
Purposes of Test Anxiety Strategies
Test anxiety strategies are intended to reduce the effects of stress due to apprehension of examinations. The goal is not to completely eliminate anxiety, since a reasonable amount of stress can be beneficial in motivating most students. Rather, the goal is to reduce anxiety to a manageable level and to empower students so they have control in testing situations.
Students should become familiar with a variety of the test anxiety strategies described later in this page. Different combinations of strategies may be used to develop stress management plans for different testing situations. It is important to have several options for dealing with test anxiety since exams in various courses and subjects may affect the student differently.
Advantages of Test Anxiety Strategies
When test anxiety is recognized and dealt with using the strategies described in this page, the student develops a sense of control over his/her academic life. This sense of control often translates into improved self-esteem and a more positive outlook on a course in particular and school or life in general. Test scores often improve as the student gains control.
Test anxiety strategies may be extended into other facets of student life. Many of the approaches are or can be generalized to deal with nontesting situations that cause stress, such as moving far from home, living with roommates, living on one's own, peer pressure and social acceptance, dealing with parents, and finding a job.
Specific Test Anxiety Strategies
Because testing situations, and therefore the nature and causes of anxiety, vary, students should become familiar with a number of strategies for reducing stress. Incorporate several strategies into an effective anxiety management plan. Expand the plan to deal with other stressors in one's life.
The following strategies are arranged according to the list of causes of test anxiety, which is outlined in the Background Information on Test Anxiety section.