Coping With Test Anxiety

Sometimes you do everything you can in order to alleviate test anxiety, yet you may still find yourself freezing up or going blank when the test is put in front of you. In these situations-which hopefully will be rare-having a set of coping tools at hand to manage test anxiety while you are actually taking the test can help you make it through.

Assessing the Test

Oftentimes, simply taking a look through the entire test can give you a good idea of what you will need to know and how you should pace yourself during the test. Hopefully, if you have studied thoroughly and efficiently, this glance over the test will be encouraging and will help alleviate some of your test anxiety. Once you see that the test is not beyond your knowledge, you can relax and work your way through the questions with confidence.


Another approach might be to answer a few questions that you feel particularly confident about, even if it means answering them out of order. Once you have successfully finished a few questions, you will likely feel more in control, which will help with any impending test anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques

If test anxiety starts to rear its ugly head while you are taking the test, and you find yourself blanking out on answers or experiencing uncomfortable physical symptoms, relaxation techniques can help get you back on track.

Here are some highly effective techniques for relaxing during the test:

  1. Slow your breathing. Count each breath, up to five breaths. Continue counting to ten if the anxiety does not subside.
  2. Close your eyes and count to ten or twenty to bring your thoughts back into focus.
  3. Stretch in your chair to loosen the tension that could be adding to your test anxiety. Stretch your arms and legs and release tension in the shoulders and neck by rolling your head or by crossing one arm over your chest and pressing your elbow toward your body.
  4. If possible, stand up to stretch or even take a short walk, perhaps to get a drink.
  5. A quick break from the stress of the test might be enough to get your brain back on track.

Although the best cure for test anxiety is adequate preparation, these relaxation techniques will help you remain calm if test anxiety hits you during the exam. They are quick and simple ways to regain control of your physical and emotional reactions to the test. Once you feel as if you are in control, the rest should fall into place, giving you the chance to prove you know the test material and to pass the exam with flying colors.

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