What is Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which
people experience a fear of failing before and/or
while take a test/exam. It is a extreme state of
uneasiness and distress that can often impact
Is it your Nerves
or is it
TRUE Test Anxiety?
Nearly everyone gets nervous about taking a test, that is
natural and normal. So, how do you know if you have normal
nerves, or test anxiety?
Test anxiety, under ADA law, must impact more than just your
feelings, and create a barrier in your every life activities (taking
a test, for a student, would be a life activity).
And while Test Anxiety, all on its own is still not considered a
full-fledged disability, the law is catching up, and it is still
recognized as a accommodation-necessary disorder.
What Causes Test Anxiety?
◦ Test Anxiety is learned over a period of time. It is often caused by
◦ Pressure from others to perform
◦ Past negative test experiences
◦ Fear of Failure
◦ Believing your test performance determines your self-worth
Nist and Diehl (1990) developed a short questionnaire for
determining if a student has mild (nerves/natural testing
response), or a more severe case of test anxiety (possibly
To complete the evaluation, read through the next 10 statements, reflecting upon past
testing experiences (write down your responses on a separate sheet). Indicate how often
each statement describes you by choosing a number from one to five as outlined below.
Never Rarely SometimesOften Always
1 2 3 4 5
1. ____I have visible signs of nervousness such as sweaty
palms, shaky hands, and so on, right before a test.
The results are in...
Now add up your score on all statements
Scores will range from 10 to 50..
a low score (10-19) indicates that you do not suffer from test anxiety.
in fact, if your score was extremely low (close to 10), a little more anxiety may be healthy to
keep you focused and to get your blood flowing during exams.
•scores between 20 –35 indicate that, although you exhibit some of the
characteristics of test anxiety, the level of stress and tension is probably
•scores over 35 suggest that you are experiencing an unhealthy level of
•you should evaluate the reason(s) for the stress and identify strategies
Lets explore the classic
symptoms of Test Anxiety?
◦ Physical Symptoms may include:
◦ Tension in the neck and shoulders
◦ Stomach Aches
◦ Rapid Heartbeat
◦ Quick, Shallow breathing
◦ Sweaty Palms
Lets explore the classic
symptoms of Test Anxiety?
◦Thought disruptions such as:
◦Inability to think
◦Loss of Concentration
◦Negative Self Talk
◦Feelings out of Control
Let’s with Start with:
Notice your own limiting thoughts and write them down
Then write down a positive thought to replace it. Remember to
make it something you will DO.
Tear up the negative thoughts you wrote down
Now when you notice limiting thoughts, replace them with your
positive, proactive thoughts.
◦ Positive Thoughts
◦ I definitely have a better study
plan for this test.
◦ This test id designed for me to
show my skills and exactly how
much I know.
◦ I am going to pass this test, but if
I don’t I will do better on the next
◦ Negative Thoughts
◦ If I do not pas this test I am a
◦ The test will have trick questions
◦ I do not test well at all
Get Yourself Together!
Get a Good Night Sleep the night
before the TEST!!!
Eat a healthy meal! For example,
Fresh fruit and veggies, Toast with
peanut butter, Tuna, eggs and lean
chicken are great!
Avoid foods high in fat, sugar and
Avoid the use of street drugs and
alcohol and drink plenty of water !
Have A ME DAY at least ONCE A
Connect with your Support
System on and off campus
Get with HCC Academic Support Resources (SSS, CAE, PRIDE,
Stay Connected to people, places and things that improve your
mental and emotional health!
Be mindful of your influences ex: Social Media, News, World
◦ Instructors are not mind readers, so PLEASE ask for help. This is
really difficult for some students. The vast majority of the time,
problems can be resolved quickly and easily if the student speaks
up. Talk to your instructor about any challenges that you may be
faces regarding the material for upcoming test. This will also help
to manage anxiety.
Avoid Procrastination at ALL
Prepare, Organize and, Practice...but don’t CRAM!
• Ask your instructor if they could provide practice tests or if they know
if any practice resources
• Create your own practice test by using the questions at the end of the
• Create/Join a Study Group
• Know and understand your learning style
• Manage your time better
• Take GOOD Lecture Notes
• Review your notes after class
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Breath Count or
Positive Self Talk/Affirmations
Saying, “Stay Positive” sounds
trite, but studies show that
attitude is 50% of the battle
when dealing with testing and
anxiety. Be realistic, but don’t
be a “Debbie Downer”…
Studies also show being your
own biggest cheerleader can
improve scores on both
homework and tests.
◦ You may want to write your
affirmations on a 3x5 card or
a small piece of paper so that
you can carry it in your wallet
◦ Post them on your mirror,
refrigerator, or on your
◦ Practice saying them to
Ms. Charice A. Rosser, MSW
Director of Counseling and Academic Success
Building 300, Suite 323, Office 324