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6 strategies to conquer test anxiety

Being nervous before a test is normal; however, feelings of self-doubt and worry that interfere with your test performance and make you miserable are not.

Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that can bring on physical symptoms such as headache, nausea, excessive sweating and light-headedness. It also can cause feelings of anger, fear, helplessness and disappointment as well as difficulty concentrating and negative thinking. In extreme cases, test anxiety can lead to a panic attack.

There are many ways to reduce your test anxiety. Here are six strategies you can use:

  1. Get plenty of sleep: Everyone benefits from a good night’s sleep. Regular, restful sleep is essential for optimal performance at school or at work. The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a day and teens get 8-10 hours of sleep a day.
  2. Don’t forget to eat and drink: On test day, make sure you eat before your test and drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine — because it can induce anxiety — and sugary drinks and treats that can cause blood sugar to spike and drop.
  3. Exercise: Regular exercise relieves stress and exercising on the day of your test can release tension.
  4. Be prepared with good study habits: Studying in a systematic way, gradually over time, is more effective than cramming for a test. Having a dedicated studying space, clear of distractions also is helpful.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: To stay calm before and during your exam, you can try deep breathing, systematically relaxing your muscles or closing your eyes and visualizing a positive outcome.
  6. Seek professional help: Talking to a psychologist has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and will assist you in regaining confidence in the classroom setting.

If you or someone you know is struggling with text anxiety, Centegra can help with effective, individualized treatment.

The compassionate clinicians at Centegra care about your well-being and want to see you reach your full potential. To find a licensed clinical psychologist, call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).