Test Anxiety

Because the Praxis tests and state tests hold so much weight in the career of special education degree holders and others seeking to further their careers in education, many test takers feel anxiety about taking the test. Testing anxiety can be defined as worrying about, if not dreading, taking an examination. Symptoms of test anxiety can include physical pains like nausea, cramps, muscle tension, and/or a feeling of faintness, difficulty concentrating, thoughts that race, an inability to concentrate, and forgetting answers a test taker already knows while taking the test. Text anxiety can begin well before even studying for a test begins, and can continue right through the test itself. In the latter scenario, a test taker suffering from text anxiety might struggle to complete the test because of the crippling nature of self-doubt. No matter what, dreading taking a test will not help a test taker prepare for the test.

There are many ways to handle or even avoid testing anxiety. One source of test anxiety is listening to other people's opinions about taking the same test. A test taker who takes charge of the situation and acquires his or her own knowledge about the test will feel empowered. There are many ways to learn what is involved in taking a test. Just by looking at the web site for the company that creates and administers the test, one can find concrete information on the number of questions, the test format, topics covered, and how much time is given.

A test taker who fully prepares to take the test will not be as anxious about the test. Finding good study guides and/or test prep classes, setting up a realistic study plan, and allowing adequate time to prepare will limit feelings of test anxiety. Also, one should take practice tests and learn from those tests to make an organized study schedule. Drawing on all available resources, from old textbooks to online resources to focused study groups, can help limit test anxiety. Developing good time management skills both while organizing preparation time and while taking practice tests—can address test anxiety issues as well.

Mental preparation will also help. Negative self talk is destructive and adds to a test taker's anxiety. When a test taker thinks he or she is a failure, such thoughts can undermine all the effort put into studying for the test. One way to address negative thoughts is to write them out, then write a positive thought next to each negative to counteract it.

If a test taker trusts his or her test preparation and conquers the mental aspect of test anxiety, the actual testing process should be anxiety free. In the days before the test, a test taker should limit his or her stress and trust his or her preparation. It is also helpful to establish a routine before the test that includes a good night's rest and adequate meals both the night before and the day of the test. Wearing comfortable clothes and arriving at the testing facility early also can help. When actually taking the test, a test taker should embrace self-confidence and give each question an appropriate amount of time and thought as practiced during preparation. Such actions should culminate in an anxiety-free testing day.

Last Updated: 09/18/2014


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