Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Test Anxiety Can Hit Hard

By Tom Addison

Don't neglect test prep. Test anxiety can undo all the benefits of study. A well-prepared student whose assignments have earned her high grades could easily flunk an exam owing to a state of panic. It would be terrible to work hard, yet not achieve the best possible result.

Physically obvious symptoms can appear to be something quite serious. A student might report chest pains, a rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties. Nausea and vomiting are also potentially debilitating side-effects.

Physically obvious results are scary, but even feeling mildly anxious affects performance. In some instances it fuels adrenaline so that, like an athlete, a student performs his best. In others, all plans of how to tackle an exam with method and careful timing are forgotten.

Some people know they are going to feel anxious ahead of time. Any medications prescribed for this complaint should be taken regularly throughout the study period and before an exam. If you experience asthma, take a puff of your inhaler before sitting down. Natural remedies also work for some students. Take measures that usually work prior to a stressful event. Just be sure to show invigilators your inhalers and other accessories and leave them on the desk so you do not have to rummage in a coat for them.

Eat well without over-eating up to an hour before taking your seat. One side-effect of anxiety is a drop in blood sugar. This exacerbates the jittery feeling which makes your head feel empty. Remain hydrated, but choose water instead of caffeinated beverages.

Pupils who use good test prep before an exam can often shake-off test anxiety. Although remembering dates or mathematical methods is critical, creating a strategy is also important. While thinking about the time you have allowed yourself for each part of the paper, this also takes your mind off of nagging fears and self-doubt.

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