Test Anxiety


What you are thinking

  • Worry about performance
  • Worry about bodily reaction
  • Worry about how others are doing
  • Worry about possible negative consequences
  • Worry about being stupid or worthless

Examples of how to conquer test anxiety related to worrying; tell yourself the following:

  • “Even if I do fail this test, that doesn’t mean I’m a worthless person”
  • “Why should I worry how everyone else is doing. I’d better just think about myself”
  • “Why worry about failing? I just better do as well as I can”
  • “Maybe I should have studied more. It’s too late now to do anything about it, so I just better do the bast I can”
  • “I’m getting knots in my stomach, my hands are sweating. I’d better take a few seconds to relax”

Confronting Stress During a Test

  • No negative self statements
  • Don’t worry. Worry won’t help anything.
  • Focus on the task; exactly what does this question ask for
  • Don’t look for tricks just what does it say
  • What’s the basic question; the main point
  • That’s a dumb question..so it’s dumb; what’s the main point
  • I can figure this out; don’t panic; ok, so I get it wrong; just skip it and go on
  • I wonder how many I need to get a B…better forget about that now and just take the test


What you are feeling physically

  • Heart pounds
  • Feel sick to stomach
  • Tight muscles
  • Sweating

How to Address these symptoms:

  • Breathing
  • Relaxation of face, neck, shoulders
  • Imagery


When you cope with test anxiety successfully use the following self statement:

  • “It worked”
  • “I can control how I feel”
  • “I’m in complete control”
  • “It’s getting better each time I try”
  • “I did it”
  • “I’m really getting good at this”

Call the University Counseling Center if you feel that you need more assistance with test anxiety. You can schedule an appointment to meet one on one with a counselor to further explore your concerns.

For more general information on test anxiety click here.