Letting Others Influence Your Test Anxiety

As in many situations, allowing other people’s advice, opinions, or supposed knowledge to influence your emotions can lead to anxiety. When it comes to test anxiety, allowing another’s opinions or advice to influence your approach to test taking can be much more detrimental than helpful.

Claiming Special Knowledge

Much of the “advice” other people provide in regard to testing involves claims that they know “secrets” or “tricks” to passing the test. These “secrets” oftentimes focus on not studying or paying minimal attention to the actual questions. Such approaches usually involve patterns of correct answers or stock phrases that will allow you to slide by with a passing grade regardless of how much you study.


These claims of special knowledge are harmful in many ways. First, they can give you an unrealistic idea of what is included on the test. If you depend on these tricks too much, you are likely to miss the point of the testing or, even worse, could fail to attain a passing grade.

Assuming that special knowledge is necessary to pass the test can also contribute to test anxiety by making it seem impossible to do well unless you know all the secrets of the test. This might make you feel as if the odds are stacked against you even if you study diligently. Believing that you must know and execute the proper patterns or secrets during the test can make you freeze up, which increases the likelihood that you will suffer from test anxiety.

Trusting Anecdotes

Everyone loves to tell horror stories about his or her experiences, whether they are talking about traffic on the way to work or attempts to pass a Praxis exam. Keep in mind, however, that whatever stories or experiences others have had, your experience will be different. Do not let others people’s tales of woe – or the opposite, for that matter – sway your attitude toward your own testing experience and bring on a bout of test anxiety.

If someone tells horror stories about how hard the test was, just remember that you have a study plan in place that will carry you through. If someone relates that the test was so easy they did not even have to study, do not abandon your efforts. The best way to eliminate test anxiety and do the best you can on your test is to formulate a study plan and stick to it.

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