Test anxiety and how to battle it

Libby Johnson, Leopard Life Staff Writer

In classrooms across North America test anxiety, a mental illness, is becoming increasingly frequent among students because of the pressure to succeed and do well on tests.

“I would say that test anxiety is common among high achievers, kids who are concerned about scoring well on standardized tests,” said Gretchen Young, nurse.

Anyone can have test anxiety, but it’s more common among perfectionists. It’s estimated that more than 10 million kids in North America have test anxiety. Test anxiety is more than being just a little bit nervous. Some symptoms include intense headaches, lightheadedness, pounding heart, or rapid breathing. 

“For those with test anxiety, taking time at home and making sure you’re prepared can help balance anxiety. Taking breaks during tests to do things like stretch your legs, get water, and rest can also help you calm down,” said Rebecca May, assistant principal.

Test anxiety is often caused by the anticipation of a stressful event or by a pressured situation. It can affect you both mentally and physically, which makes it a hard situation to have. Luckily, there are many ways to battle it. Some include having efficient study habits, spreading your studying over time, and learning good relaxation techniques. It’s also effective to get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and stay active. Yoga also helps decrease stress levels. If needed, tell your teachers that you have stress anxiety. It may help you if your teachers are aware so they can be more understanding. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “See a professional counselor, if necessary. Talk therapy with a psychologist or other mental health professional to work through feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that cause or worsen anxiety.”

Even though test anxiety may be a difficult situation, it can be overcome.