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Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a common problem among college students. It is normal to feel pressure before and during tests, especially when the results of the test will have significant consequences on your future.

A certain amount of stress is helpful for your performance. This useful stress (also called eustress) motivates you to study hard and attempt to do well on your tests. However, too much stress can cause distress, which can result in test anxiety or occasionally even lead to a more severe form of text anxiety, called test phobia. It is important to understand these two potential difficulties so that you can recognize them in yourself if you experience them.

What is test anxiety?
Test anxiety is when the pressure to do well on tests or the fear of failure leads to distress. It can cause you to forget information you learned and render you unable to solve problems you could in other situations.

How do I know if I am experiencing test anxiety?
To determine if you may be experiencing test anxiety, ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing test anxiety. If you are experiencing test anxiety, it is important to learn methods to reduce your anxiety and to seek help when needed.

What can I do before taking a test to reduce my anxiety?

What can I do during a test during a test to reduce my anxiety?

Where can I get help?
Tutors, academic advisors, professors, and counselors all provide help for students with test anxiety. While there is some overlap in the services provided by each of these professionals, there is a difference in the focus of help they provide. Academic advisors often help students improve their time management skills and develop good study habits. Tutors and professors can help students can help students understand the course content. Professors can also offer suggestions to improve study strategies specifically for their tests. Counselors can help students manage test-related stress and work through other life issues that may be effecting them.

What is test phobia?
Test phobia is a condition that goes beyond test anxiety. It is a severe fear of tests that interferes with normal life functioning. Test phobia sufferers often go to extreme measures to avoid tests. Even the thought of taking a test may cause a test phobia sufferer to have a panic attack or experience another strong reaction. If you think you may be experiencing test phobia, seek the assistance of a professional counselor. Many colleges have professional counselors on staff.


If you think you may be experiencing test anxiety, implement some of the suggested strategies above to help you cope with stress and to improve your study skills. In addition, you may find it helpful to seek help from college personnel and to utilize campus resources. If you are experiencing test phobia, it is imperative that you seek help from a qualified professional.

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