Your child went to class, completed homework, and studied. He or she arrived at the exam confident about the material. But if he or she has test anxiety, a type of performance anxiety, taking the test is the most difficult part of the equation.
- Fear of failure. While the pressure to perform can act as a motivator, it can also be devastating to individuals who tie their self-worth to the outcome of a test.
- Lack of preparation. Waiting until the last minute or not studying at all can leave individuals feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
- Poor test history. Previous problems or bad experiences with test-taking can lead to a negative mindset and influence performance on future tests.
- Physical symptoms. Headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness and feeling faint can all occur. Test anxiety can lead to a panic attack, which is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which individuals may feel like they are unable to breathe or having a heart attack.
- Emotional symptoms. Feelings of anger, fear, helplessness and disappointment are common emotional responses to test anxiety.
- Behavioral/Cognitive symptoms. Difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively and comparing yourself to others are common symptoms of test anxiety.
Tips for managing test anxiety