Test Taking Anxiety

Test Taking AnxietyHave you ever suffered from anxiety before an important exam?  High levels of anxiety are never good for our performance during tests. They cause us to forget what we want to write, lose focus and become highly stressed.

Test taking anxiety is very common and affects millions of students worldwide.

About 16–20% of students have high test anxiety – American Test Anxieties Association

With a lot riding on tests such as the SAT and ACT, students understandably feel the pressure. When stress becomes debilitating, it becomes a problem!

If you experience anxiety when taking tests, you don’t have to worry! Anxiety is a normal part of life and something we all experience.  But when it becomes distracting or debilitating  we need to find ways to tackle it.

Fortunately, test taking anxiety is something that can be easily managed with the right strategies:

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Visualization is a great tool for helping & reach your goals.  Visualization is used by many top athletes & academics to achieve focus & block out negative thoughts that hold them back. [/ale_tab]

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Deep breathing is a quick and easy way to achieve calm and focus in any situation.

When you are stressed or anxious, focusing on your breathing can be a quick way to get back on track.

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Anchoring is a method of changing your thoughts and associations through objects.  For example we might take a pen which acts as the anchor.  The connection between the pen and the brain is that it opens the super computer, allowing the information you have read, heard or learned to flow back and forth from the mind to the paper and the pen writes it all down.

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Visualization TECHNIQUE TO RELEASE Anxiety

  1. Make sure you are comfortable, preferably sit in a supporting chair or lie down.
  2. Think about somewhere relaxing, somewhere you feel comfortable and happy, it can be somewhere real or in your imagination
  3. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in that scene, What can you see? What can you feel? What can you hear?
  4. Imagine yourself relaxing in the scene
  5. Spend a few minutes enjoying this relaxation, when you are ready slowly open your eyes.
  6. Repeat the process daily when you feel anxious, the more you practice, the quicker you will be able to reduce your feelings of anxiety.


Deep Breathing Technique to Release Stress

Try the following breathing technique to help relieve anxiety when taking tests:

  1. Inhale, taking a deep breath that fills your diaphragm as you push it down and outward.Breathing
  2. You can place your hand on the area to make sure that you are breathing properly.
  3. Do not raise your shoulders, because that is shallow breathing and will not help you to relax.
  4. Hold your breath as you slowly count to three.
  5. As you exhale, see and feel the stress being exhaled out of your body.
  6. Take an another nice deep breath and as you hold that breath for the count of three, feel relaxed and in control, so that you can focus and be back in the game.
  7. Repeat if needed.

Deep breathing is an easy exercise for anyone who suffers from test taking anxiety, you can use it at any time, without it being obvious! No one has to know you’re using it.. Just use the exercise to help achieve your sense of calm & focus when taking your next test.


Other tips for reducing test taking anxiety

  • Don’t think about other students during the test – Avoid looking at how long other students take to finish their test, just because they have finished, doesn’t mean they have finished correctly!
  • Clear your day before the test – Give yourself plenty of time to get to the test on time, don’t fill your day with lots of stuff that’s going to make you stressed.
  • Avoid caffeine/high sugar – Drinks that give you a sudden burst of energy will not help with your anxiety or concentration levels, instead stick to foods and drink that provides long-lasting energy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – Dehydration can cause you to be irritable and anxious, make sure you drink plenty of water before the test.
  • Don’t let your mind wander – Focus on the test and each question one at a time.
  • Don’t rush – This will increase your anxiety, take everything slowly and calmly.

Don’t let test taking anxiety hold you back! Learn the mental skills you need to reduce stress & remain calm when taking tests.  With these skills, you will have the confidence and the focus you need to ace every exam!


Kathy is one of a kind! I had been applying to graduate school and had been a nervous wreck through out the entire process- the amount of pressure I put on myself seemed insurmountable. I went to see Kathy before taking my GRE (one of the biggest factors in the app. process), in hopes that she could change my mindset about the whole process. I went into my appointment with an open mind and hoped for the best- which is what I received! I don’t think I have ever been so calm and focused on a test or work in general. The anxiety and pressure I had felt prior became minimal, and I felt so much more confident leaving the center. I believe that if I can tackle that, I can also confidently take on graduate school with a positive, calm mindset, and do better than I could have ever imagined- and that is all thanks to Kathy! 
Thanks again!! AM


WANT TO Learn Visualization, anchoring or Self Mastery?

Whatever you do in life, these skills will help you to achieve your maximum potential. With visualization, self mastery and anchoring you can block the thoughts that are holding you back.

Speak to our professional mental trainers & hone the skills that give you that Mental Edge!

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