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Test Anxiety

Most students feel some level of anxiety before and during a test. However, it is a problem when the anxiety begins to affect your ability to take a test. This information sheet describes the signs of test anxiety and how to cope.

SIGNS OF TEST ANXIETY IN YOUR HEAD:

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Mind going blank
  • Racing thoughts
  • Negative thoughts, such as thinking about failing and the consequences of failing
  • Negative self-talk, such as calling yourself a failure
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Knowing the answers before and after the test but not during it

SIGNS OF TEST ANXIETY IN YOUR BODY:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling faint
  • Fidgeting

HOW TO COPE WITH TEST ANXIETY:

  • Manage your study time and do not procrastinate. Use an organizer or planner to develop a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Be on time. Arriving to the test late will increase anxiety.
  • Focus on the test and try not to get distracted.
  • Expect some anxiety… this is normal. Do not let a little anxiety throw you off your game.
  • Develop good study habits and make sure you are well prepared for your tests.
  • Read the test instructions carefully before you start.
  • Use relaxation techniques during the test, like slow, deep breathing.
  • Take a break if you need to and bring a drink, if possible.
  • If you need extra support, make an appointment with a school counselor or advisor.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.