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TCNJ EMS: Test anxiety and how to handle it

By Steven King
Columnist 

We’ve almost made it to the end, but we still have one last challenge to overcome this school year: finals. Finals come around every semester, and every semester everyone experiences that all too familiar stress. For some people, however, this stress translates into severe anxiety, which can keep a person from being able to focus on studying and performing well.

Finals week creates additional stress for students. (AP Photo)
Finals week creates additional stress for students. (AP Photo)

Testing anxiety is no laughing matter and it can affect people to an extreme degree, to the point where even the simplest question becomes tough to answer. Even after a test, a person might still feel anxiety, which can lead to poor performance on the next test. Hopefully, TCNJ EMS can give you some tips to help reduce this anxiety so that you can do your best on your finals.

First of all, what is testing anxiety? Sometimes you can feel really nervous before a big event in your life, whether it be going on a roller coaster or competing in a sport. This type of uneasiness, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Generally, this anxiety makes you more alert and ready. It might not feel too nice, but it doesn’t compare to the anxiety that is experienced by people who suffer from testing anxiety.

Testing anxiety is unhealthy for you, physically and mentally. It is a form of excessive fear that makes it difficult to concentrate on an exam and is usually accompanied by physical symptoms such as nausea, which makes it even harder to focus. Overall, testing anxiety can be defined as an extreme sense of fear — marked by unhealthy physical symptoms — that keeps a person from being able to focus on their exams.

So, what exactly can you do to deal with testing anxiety? Luckily, there are several methods to help relieve this anxiety. First of all, you need to get a good night’s sleep. While it is tempting, do not cram all night before the exam. Unfortunately, cramming can lead to even more anxiety. Besides that, eat something healthy before the exam, but make sure you do not eat something too heavy. Avoid sugary foods, since it’s possible for the sugar to make anxiety worse. During the exam, try to sit in a comfortable position and change your position if you need to. It also helps to use some positive reinforcement, such as acknowledging that you are doing your best. Just try to stay calm and stay positive, and ignore any negative thoughts that might be trying to mess with you. Overall, healthy physical habits are a must, but remember to stay positive about yourself and your performance.

While testing, anxiety can certainly be nasty and detrimental to your exam score, there are ways to deal with it. By thinking positive thoughts before and during the test, eating healthy and practicing good sleeping habits, it is possible to calm your anxiety. With only a little bit of time before the year ends, good luck on your finals and remember to stay positive!

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