How to deal with test anxiety

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MythologyFanatic
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Whenever I even think about an upcoming test, I start to freeze up and it becomes very hard to think about anything else. Even though I do well most times, I still feel this intense fear and my body reacts physically (shaking, freezing up, head hurts). I really want to do well in my a-levels and go to university so I need this problem to stop. Please help. Thank you.
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IBkidinthecorner
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Hey, I've never really experienced anything more than normal test anxiety, but have you tried square breathing before an exam? Perhaps limiting caffeine intake in the days before an exam and making sure you get enough sleep would also help. On top of that, I would recommend making detailed revision schedules and sticking to them, as when I get nervous, it helps me to visualise my revision planners and tell myself that having done that much revision there is no reason for me to do badly. I hope this helps and feel free to PM me x
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daintydaisy
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Hey!

I feel exactly the same as you (shaking etc) whenever I go in for tests/exams.


Best thing you can do is just be as prepared as possible, sticking to your revision schedule and convince yourself that you know the exam information inside out.

Secondly, I’d recommend breathing exercises and maybe look at it from a different perspective. Our body reacts to anxiety the same was as it does when we’re excited, so try to turn some of those negative thoughts (“I’m going to fail” “I’m so nervous”) into positive ones (“I am prepared for this” “I am excited to do well in this exam”)

Thirdly, I’ve found that staying grounded really helps me stay focused, if I’m nervous and can’t control my shakes I look around the room for about 10 seconds and just focus on someone else and their reaction to calm myself down. Once I’ve done a couple of questions I’m usually alright

Once you do more and more exams you’ll become less nervous because your comfort zone will expand!

Good luck, I hope this helps a little!
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macy_m
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Hi, i get a very similar thing and sometimes it gets to my head a lot of the times, for example (i'm only in yr 11) i got a 9 in my recent maths mock (what i should get ideally), but in the mock before i ended up getting a 6 because i panicked so much i literally blurred my eyesight and unfocused during the test due to panic. I've been told that breathing exercises should help, and if possible AVOID talking to anyone reminding you of the exam or talking about how they feel about it. Do you do much revision, because you should avoid even touching up on small topics on the day of the exam bc then you will also panic about trying to remember that one topic. Try to get a good nights sleep, but do not try and change your routine up extremely (waking up earlier to revise more) as it will most likely confuse your body as you're not going to be used to it. Other than that i'm not sure what else to say as i still experience this, but if you find anything useful to you please let me know !

edit: I have also realised i also experience this during sporting events- including the shaking, but it usually seems to go away once I start running/competing, so i'd also recommend you just start as quickly as you can and if you have anything on your mind just write it down, however irrelevant it may seem. If you are stuck on a question (even earlier on) just skip it and come back to it, i find it that i lose motivation otherwise and start shaking my leg too much!
Last edited by macy_m; 1 month ago
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aubindes bois
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(Original post by MythologyFanatic)
Whenever I even think about an upcoming test, I start to freeze up and it becomes very hard to think about anything else. Even though I do well most times, I still feel this intense fear and my body reacts physically (shaking, freezing up, head hurts). I really want to do well in my a-levels and go to university so I need this problem to stop. Please help. Thank you.
Hi MythologyFanatic,

I believe you have 1 key Issue.

Issue: You struggle to detach from the immediate consequences

Solution: Look at the upcoming result's test trough a long term lens.
When You look at an upcoming activity, the pressure increases because you unconsciously focus on the immediate consequences: your grades. And Just envisaging the possibility something might go wrong, creates anxiety.
Can you think of another reason why you need to perform very well on this test?

The detail process goes like this:

Step 1: pivot your thinking from the nearest future to the past,
Step 2: then look at intents you had before the fast-approaching event
Step.3: pick up the one that will happen far in the future and make it your primary intent throughout which you are going to look at your preparation

Eg:
I started to write a book for 1 year ago. My primary intent was "to help chronic procrastinators". SO I was taking my time to provide good content.
Recently a new member joined the team . he is interested in the book because it will generate money.
Since then I started experiencing high level of anxiety anytime I wanted to. " I should finish the first draft by the date XX because I told the team member it will be done by date XX" .
What was going on underneath is that I was afraid of the immediate consequence of failure: "losing a new valuable member whose motivation is money".
So I changed my lens: I decided to focus again on long term benefits. " I write this book to heal chronic procrastinators".
The immediate dateline doesn't change, but the pressure disappears. And it allows me to focus.

Courage. Don't Back down. You will have your A-Level to go to university.
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PAPYRUS-UK
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(Original post by MythologyFanatic)
Whenever I even think about an upcoming test, I start to freeze up and it becomes very hard to think about anything else. Even though I do well most times, I still feel this intense fear and my body reacts physically (shaking, freezing up, head hurts). I really want to do well in my a-levels and go to university so I need this problem to stop. Please help. Thank you.
Hi MythologyFanatic,

I encourage you to check out a leaflet PAPYRUS put together, that gives you some advice on how to cope with exams. You can find it here
I
hope this helps!

Best Wishes,
Rosie
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MythologyFanatic
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Thank you so much for replying. This is all great advice - I think I am going to focus on breathing exercises and making more detailed plans. Making lists does help to calm me down and I'm sure it will help me academically. Once again, thank you all, for your great advice and empathetic responses.
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