I don’t get it. I have studied for each and every exam I have taken so far in college and have ended up with pretty poor grades. It’s almost like what I study seeps through my brain and out the door the moment I sit down to take the test. I am a nervous wreck and don’t know how to calm my nerves. Help!
Lost in the seaweed
Text anxiety is really about taking the test itself, not on your actual knowledge of the information studied. If you have studied the information like you say and can retrieve it fine at home, the stuff you have plugged into your brain is still there when you are in class, not smoking itself out from underneath your classroom door; the problem is in the retrieving of the information (still in your brain) when test anxiety occurs.
For me, test anxiety occurred almost every time I took a test in college. It didn’t matter how much or how long I’d studied, when I got to class and had to wait for class to begin, my heart began pounding and I had a desire to cram every morsel into my brain until the last possible moment.
I have since learned a few things about text anxiety that actually relates to doing anything “scary” in life.
Test taking is a bit like performing on stage. Others see you; and in this case, your teacher. He or she will see your strengths and weaknesses, and grade you on your performance. Like live theatre, this is a hard pill to swallow. What if you make a horrible mistake? What if you forget something you knew? What if you write down a lame answer or forget to do a question altogether?
“What if” questions are the worst kind of question unless you turn them around. What if you give a terrific answer? What if you remember something that was pretty technical in the first place? What if you write down the correct answer or remember something you have studied?
Think positive. Make room in your brain for the answers instead of the fears.
Take a deep breath.
When I got better at test taking, I used to pretend I was at the day spa or at the beach. I used to give myself pep talks until the test was administered. I even started leaving my notes and study materials at home. I arrived at class early and ready; study time was over. What would I remember at the last moment of study anyway? When others were shuffling through their paperwork and complaining about the test, I was already in Hawaii.