Tackling Test Anxiety
Test Anxiety is a combination of physical symptoms and emotional reactions that interfere with your ability to prepare for and perform well on tests.
- Start early and use active study strategies.
- Re-reading lecture notes or a textbook is NOT enough.
IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THE TEST
- Eat something nutritious to help with focus and attention. Bring water to stay hydrated.
- Exercise will also help with focus and attention.
- Play calming or familiar music to help you relax.
- Arrive to test early enough to find a seat that will help, not hinder your focus (up front? near a window?)
- Avoid talking to classmates if it raises your anxiety.
- Bring ear plugs if you get distracted by noise
DURING THE TEST
Calm Your Body
- Breathe deeply from your belly
- Tighten various muscle groups, and then relax them
- Stand and stretch or shrug shoulders
- Close your eyes and count to ten
Calm Your Emotions and Thoughts
- Focus only on present moment to help you stay grounded
- EX: “I am sitting at a desk in Carroll Hall. It is 2:00 pm on Tuesday.”
- Avoid thoughts about the future or past
- EX: “I need an A on this test in order to improve my g.p.a.”
- EX: “I should have done more practice problems.”
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
- “It’s okay if I can’t answer this question – I can answer another question instead.”
Download PDF: Tackling Test Anxiety
REMEMBER: The UNC Learning Center is a great resource! Both Peer Tutoring and Academic Coaching can help you create a balanced approach to succeeding at Carolina. Our friendly staff is ready to help – drop by or make an appointment!
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