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Overcoming Test Anxiety

Tips for reducing test anxiety

What are some strategies that might help you with test anxiety?

Following are some strategies for reducing test anxiety.

Before The Exam

  1. Start preparing early rather than waiting until the last minute and cramming.
    • Start studying a week or two before the exam
    • Study in smaller blocks of time - Spaced out learning helps your memory and cognition so it is more effective than cramming even if you spend the same amount of time.
    • Click on the preparing for exams to get more tips. 
  2. Learn how to study more effectively.  
    • Study the way you will be tested for example, for an essay practice outlining different essay questions.
    • Ask yourself and answer questions to practice recalling information like in a testing situation.
    • Make charts and outlines that organize information
    • More  Study Effectively Tips
  3. Practice healthy living 
    • Get regular exercise
    • Maintain a healthy diet
    • Create a balanced schedule
    • Sleep well
    • Stay away from using stimulants like caffeine and nicotine 
    • Learn stress reduction techniques like meditation.

During The Exam

  1. Think of the exam as an opportunity to show off what you know 
  2. Read exam questions carefully.
    • Essay Questions- write an outline to organize your ideas, address all the main points, and minimize repetition
    • Short answer questions - answer only what is asked - keep it short and to the point.
    • Multiple choice questions - read all alternatives then eliminate those that are incorrect and pay attention to qualifying words like onlyalways, and most
    • Dealing with possible fears
  3. If anxiety begins to interfere with your test performance -
    • Focus on a calming object
    • Perform a calming action like reciting a mantra (a phrase you repeat to yourself)
    • Wear, touch, or look at something that triggers a calming response. 

More Tips on Taking Tests

After The Exam

  1. Learn from your experience
    • Keep notes about what worked and what didn't work for reducing test anxiety.
    • It helps to be strategic, intentional, and creative in developing and applying an anxiety reduction plan.
  2. Keep a positive attitude
    • It is not helpful to punish yourself for what didn't go well. Instead, reward yourself for what did go well.
  3. Reflect 
    • Review what worked well for you and where you can make adjustments.

Additional Resources

Overcoming Test Anxiety 

Overcoming Test Anxiety (toolkit)

Taming Your Test Anxiety Tips