Test Anxiety Fact Sheet

By Confident Student


It is normal to feel nervous about an exam. Generally, we all experience some level of nervousness or tension before tests or other important events in our lives. A little nervousness can actually help motivate us. Too much tension and it can become a problem — especially if it interferes with our ability to prepare for and perform on tests. Researchers have found that increased levels of a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland disrupt the healthy functioning of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and short-term memory.

So how do you know if you suffer from test anxiety?

Penn State offers this checklist to see if you may be a little too frazzled…

Test Anxiety Quiz

  • I have trouble sleeping at night and spend those last few minutes before sleep worrying about upcoming exams or projects.
  • The day of an exam, I experience drastic appetite changes and either overeat, or skip breakfast and lunch.
  • While studying for or taking an exam, I often feel a sense of hopelessness or dread.
  • While studying or taking an exam, I have problems concentrating and I sometimes feel bored or tired.
  • I often yawn during an exam or while studying.
  • During an exam, I often feel confused or panic.
  • During an exam, I experience sweaty palms, mental blocks.
  • While taking an exam, I sometimes experience headaches, vomiting, or fainting.
  • After the exam, I pretend the exam meant nothing to me, and discard the result as meaningless.
  • When I am finished with an exam, I sometimes feel guilt and blame myself for not studying enough.
  • I sometimes get angry or depressed after an exam.
  • As a general rule, I view test-taking as a stressful situation and dread it.

If you answered true to any of these statements, you may suffer from test anxiety.

The first thing to do is realize that it is not a lost cause, and you can manage the anxiety to work for you, instead of against you.

© Confident Student

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