For those of you who have anxiety, you know the symptoms when it starts to kick in: the body tremors, the aching arms, the overwhelming worry building as you envision one scenario to another. When your mind is spinning out of control and your heart feels like it’s beating through your ribs, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do. Combine these symptoms with taking a standardized test - a test that has been broadcasted to you as one of the few chances you have to truly shape your academic future - and you may think you’re toast. You may have what we are calling Examiety.
But don’t fret! You’re not alone and there are things you can do to cope. Keep reading for 6 ways to deal with your Examiety.
- Face Your Feelings
Try your best to put things in perspective. Think about it outside of those anxious situations to help prepare, understand, and stand up to those feelings. Anxiety is a human reaction that many people have and there are triggers for these feelings. Once you start realizing what is making you feel this way, the intensity will start to diminish.
- Be Prepared
Possibly the only bright side of being a person that deals with anxiety is: you prepare for everything. You prepare for school, you prepare for projects, you prepare for conversations that you think might happen. So if you know that one of your triggers for anxiety is being unprepared, don’t let that happen! There’s definitely no shame in beginning to study for an exam well ahead of time. Make flashcards, take practice tests, study with friends – whatever you need to do to feel confident about the material.
- Ask For Help
Before you get into the classroom on the day of your test, you should try to have a conversation with someone who will be involved with proctoring. Even if it’s a third-party, you should be able to reach out to them. If it’s a teacher you know, even better. Test-anxiety is a well-documented and recognized thing in the academic community. Trust us when we tell you that these educational professionals have experienced it before and should be able to relate and as well as provide guidance and make accommodations. For example, it might be easier to go to a separate room, alone, where you can think without everyone else around. Many proctors are open to making adjustments on timing or placement throughout the day.
- Find Your “One-Weird-Trick”
There is an ample amount of advice out there that gives simple things you can do to reduce your test-stress. Chew gum. Listen to music. Drink tea. Exercise. Take deep breaths. Whatever you find to work for you—do it (just get approval from the proctor, first.)
- Do Your Research
One thing that researchers have identified as a cause of people’s anxiety is the fear that often comes from a place of inexperience or misunderstanding. Take away the mystery and understand what your body is doing chemically and what your mind is doing psychologically by conducting your own research, specifically focusing on academic-related anxiety.
- Harness It
Anxiety can be both a terrible and wonderful thing. It’s important to have a little fear: it shows that something’s important to you. That’s not a bad thing. Lean into that feeling and that fear—let it drive you to great things…like acing that exam!
We do not claim to be doctors or experts on the treatment of anxiety. If you would like more information or need help addressing your anxiety, please visit: http://www.adaa.org/finding-help