TEST ANXIETY AND HOW TO HANDLE IT
By Ernest Mastria, Psy.D.
For more information visit:
I define intelligence as your contact with your surroundings. Attention or focus on our surroundings is how we maintain our intelligence. Attention is a quantity from zero to one hundred percent. The more focused we are, the more intelligent we are. An important characteristic of intelligence is the ability to see differences between situations.
When you sit down to take a test, negative thoughts that you will not know the answers to questions and fail the test and your entire life will be a disappointment creep in and distract your attention. When attention is paid to these thoughts, less is available to focus on the things in front of you, your test. Remember, attention in the present is how we maintain intelligence (contact with our surroundings). As a result of attention paid to the negative thoughts, intelligence decreases so that you can't read properly, find accurate information, and respond correctly. As a result of decreased intelligence, it’s important characteristic, the ability to see differences decreases. You become nervous since you see the negative thought as real and true. In this frame of mind, you have failed the test and your life will be miserable.
You question your initial response to a question with a second thought and go with it rather than your initial reaction. As a result, you get the answer wrong.
You failed the test even though you had studied and had the material down. Now you begin worrying about the next test, anticipating negatively that you will fail just as you did the first one.
How can you possibly do your best on a test with all this going on???
HOW TO HANDLE TEST ANXIETY
1. Study for the test and when you are completed know that you have studied and let the cards fall where they may.
2. Don't think about the test until it’s on your desk and in front of you. Get rid of your negative anticipation of it by saying to yourself, with your intelligence, "I'll handle it when it’s in front of me and I'm not going to worry about it now."
3. When you sit down to take the test, don't get yourself upset by trying to take in all the questions at once, you'll become overwhelmed. Remember how I showed you to handle multiple situations in class? One at a time while ignoring those that are not in front of you. You will want to use the same technique for test taking.
4. Look at the first question and ignore all the rest. Some students put a sheet of paper over the other questions so that they can focus only on the first question.
5. Read the question slowly and deliberately and word by word. Read it at least twice. Once you have total comprehension of the question, retrieve the information from the material you have studied.
6. Go with your first impression and answer. Second thinking most often comes from the bad habit that doesn't want you to be successful and insists on questioning your judgment. Answers from second thinking are most frequently incorrect. While your first impression answers may not always be correct, they usually are.
7. Use the same procedure with the remaining questions and when you've completed the test, realize that you've done your best and leave it at that.