Final exams are just around the corner, and test anxiety is rearing its ugly head for many students.
Students with test anxiety may feel their bodies and minds enter “flight, fight, or freeze mode” while experiencing physical symptoms like rapid breathing, pounding heart, sweaty palms, tunnel vision, and nausea. Anxiety can cause them to forget materials they’re familiar with, have difficulty concentrating, and make avoidable mistakes.
The pressure surrounding final exams (as opposed to regular tests throughout the semester) can compound the feeling of anxiety. Final exams are even more challenging than other tests because they cover an entire semester’s worth of content.
Understandably, students who suffer from test anxiety need a lifeline right now, and we’re here to help.
4 Tips for Managing Test Anxiety
The most important thing for students to know is that they are not helpless in the face of this challenge. Here are four practical ways to cope with test anxiety:
- Evaluate worries and concerns
The first step for students is to determine which of their worries are grounded in reality. Do they lack mastery in a subject like English or mathematics? If so, test anxiety makes sense, and students can begin overcoming it by studying. Are they worrying over materials they’ve already mastered? Assessing their performance on practice questions may allow students to see that their worries are misplaced. A tutor can be a great resource for helping students identify where they struggle and where they excel.
- Prepare for the test day experience
Gradual acclimation to testing pressure can normalize the test-taking process. We recommend developing practice questions for students to answer, working under timed conditions, and learning to work in a noisy environment to prepare for the test day experience. Students can gradually decrease their worries by repeatedly putting themselves in a situation like the stressful one they’re anticipating.
- Make studying a repeatable process
As English poet John Dryden said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” Habits can make or break test day performances. The highest-performing students usually have a specific, repeatable method for studying. This approach ensures that they are fully prepared, and it signals to their brains that they’ve done enough and can stop worrying once they’ve reached the end of the process.
- Identify tools for quieting the mind
Meditation, breathing exercises, and physical practices like yoga and Tai Chi can help quiet the mind and cultivate a calm and focused mental state. The positive results of using these tools increase over time, so even if a student can’t employ them on exam day, they’ll still feel the cumulative effects.
With these strategies, students can reduce their test anxiety and feel more confident when they take their final exams. For advice on studying for finals, check out this blog. If your student could use the support of a subject tutor, contact Signet to begin the conversation.