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Introduction
Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety begins to affect exam performance it has become a problem.

What Causes Test Anxiety

  • Lack of preparation as indicated by:
    • cramming the night before the exam.
    • poor time management.
    • failure to organize text information.
    • poor study habits.
  • Worrying about the following:
    • past performance on exams.
    • how friends and other students are doing.
    • the negative consequences of failure.
Physical Signs of Test Anxiety
During an exam, as in any stressful situations, a student may experience any of the following bodily changes:
  • perspiration
  • sweaty palms
  • headache
  • upset stomach
  • rapid heart beat
  • tense muscles

Effects of Test Anxiety

  • Nervousness:
    • Having difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper.
    • Having difficulty organizing your thoughts.
    • Having difficulty retrieving key words and concepts when answering essay questions.
    • Doing poorly on an exam even though you know the material.
  • Mental Blocking:
    • Going blank on questions.
    • Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over.
How to Reduce Test Anxiety

  • Study and know the material well enough so that you can recall it even if you are under stress.
  • Learn and practice good time management and avoid:
    • laziness
    • procrastination
    • day dreaming
  • Build confidence by studying throughout the semester and avoid cramming the night before the exam.
  • Learn to concentrate on the material you are studying by:
    • generating questions from your textbooks and lecture notes.
    • focusing on key words, concepts and examples in your textbooks and lecture notes.
    • making charts and outlines which organize the information in your notes and textbooks.
  • Use relaxation techniques, for example, taking long deep breaths to relax the body and reduce stress.



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