Unrealistic Goals and Test Anxiety

When approaching a milestone in your education or career, it is good to have goals to ensure you accomplish the next step. However, it is possible to set the bar too high, expecting more from yourself than anyone could be expected to deliver. This kind of unrealistic goal setting can sabotage your efforts to achieve the upcoming milestone. One way it can undermine your efforts is by triggering test anxiety.

Perfectionism and Test anxiety

You have a career plan, and that plan includes passing a specific test in order to gain the qualifications you need. This might be a certification test, a Praxis exam, or some other important test that serves to advance your career. Of course you want to do your best on the test, but it is also possible to become overly concerned with achieving a perfect score.


When you sit down to take your test, chances are that you will find a few questions you do not immediately know the answers to. If you are determined to get a perfect score, this could trigger test anxiety before you have actually begun the test. While it is good to want to do well, perfectionism in a testing situation can be detrimental.

Doing Your Best Without Demanding Perfection

When approaching your test, do everything you can to master the material, but also remind yourself that it is okay to miss a few questions. Promise that you will do the very best you can, but do not be too hard on yourself if you are unable to answer every question on the test. Of course you want to make a passing grade, but falling a few questions short of a perfect score is not a disaster.

By giving yourself permission to perform less than perfectly, you will reduce the stress you face while taking the test and thus reduce the likelihood of test anxiety. In fact, by accepting the fact that you might not get a perfect score, you might actually create a mental environment in which you are able to perform at your very best – and you might end up getting that perfect score after all.

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