Overcoming Test Anxiety: A College Student’s Guide


You are sitting in the examination hall and writing your paper, and suddenly, you see that even after writing very fast, you are not able to complete your test answers. You are trying very hard to complete it but failed again. And suddenly, you woke up sweating and fainting. What just happened? You were dreaming about your exam. This happened with a lot of students. Most of the students feel test anxiety, and that creates a huge problem for the Student. 

Anxiety leads to severe mental and health problems. 


Test anxiety is a psychological feeling when you are going for an exam. This anxiety creates a big challenge for people who are not adapted to extreme pressure. Seeing a little pressure before the test is a good thing because it leads to better performance. But for some students, it’s a big challenge. 


Now, a lot of college-going students feel anxious in the name of the test. And this affects their normal capabilities. As of now, there are various tests, assignment submissions, surprise tests, and weekly and monthly tests more prevalent. Now there is a rise in this problem and it is increasing day by day. Test anxiety is creating a huge hole in the mind of a student. This affects their normal growth as human beings and future leaders. 


Our goal is not only to help students with their direct problems like programming assignments but also to help them with other problems. The goal is to raise awareness about test anxiety and help students to fight this problem. Read this guide and understand this huge problem.

Understanding Test Anxiety


Before suggesting a solution to test anxiety, we should know about this. If you want to find a cure for any disease, you always start by researching the disease. We will understand first about test anxiety. There is no harm in feeling a little anxious; it will make you more attentive, but the problem lies where this is more than the limit. 

So first, how can you determine about the test anxiety? Test Anxiety can show up in 3 ways.

Physical Symptoms

Students go through a lot of physical changes when they are feeling test anxiety, like sweating, heartbeat, upset stomach, shaky hands or legs, and not being able to breathe properly. These are some of the systems, and they can vary for different students.

Cognitive Symptoms 

Physical symptoms will be visible, but cognitive symptoms will be hidden, and most of them will be in the minds of students. They will not be able to concentrate, their mind will go blank, and they have a lot of negative thoughts, overthinking about small things. This creates uneasiness in the minds of students, and their preparation for tests suffers.

Emotional Symptoms

Emotional symptoms impair you and weaken your feelings. You will feel nervous, fearful, worried and irritated with small things. 

Normally, these symptoms are normal, but students who are preparing for the upcoming test are more likely to experience anxiety and show this anxiety. 

People are already working on determining the causes of this anxiety and searching to pinpoint the reason. Still, mostly in students, these are caused by fear of failure, trying to be too perfectionist, sometimes they are under-prepared or have just a negative image of themselves. 

This test anxiety can impact students’ lives in a very dramatic way. Their academic performance may go down and harm to such an extent that it may hamper their career in the future. 

Their emotional and psychological consequences can harm the Student for a longer period and affect their normal daily life severely. They may lead to bad life experiences and low self-esteem. 

If test anxiety is not kept in check, it can harm the physical well-being of students, and it may lead to poor health. 

Strategies to Manage Test Anxiety

As you have seen, test anxiety can harm students’ academic, mental and physical well-being. So, what can we do to reduce the impact of test anxiety? Managing test anxiety should be the priority because this can negatively affect the Student’s growth in every sphere of life. 

So here are some of the ways we can follow these strategies and manage test anxiety. 


Preparing for Tests

If students prepare their test properly in advance, practice it in advance and break down the whole upcoming test. It will help them to cope better with the test. Follow better study techniques, manage their time properly and follow their study schedule properly. 

These small changes in her study methods will help them to be more ready for the upcoming test, and they will feel more confident, which means less anxiety.


Relaxation Techniques

Students should learn some relaxation techniques so that when they feel a little anxious, they can handle that with these relaxation techniques. Students should learn deep breathing exercises to control their breathing, learn how to relax muscles when they are stressed and learn how to meditate properly. 

I am not saying that this would totally control their anxiety, but it will help them a lot. 

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

It is kind of a little difficult, but hear me out. Cognitive behavioral techniques mean how to condition their mind and bring positive thoughts instead of negative ones. They should practice some positive self-affirmations, like everything will be okay, like singing a song or reciting a verse from a favorite poem. 

Students can learn to visualize their success and how they have got the most marks in the test which they are preparing. These practices can truly change the Student’s behavior. 

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

If students follow a healthy lifestyle or indulge in physical activities, they are less likely to feel this test anxiety. That is why psychologists always suggest people do some physical work or maybe do some regular exercise, go for a run, go to the gym or start playing any outdoor sports, which allows you to do some physical activities. 

With physical activity, take balanced nutritional food and get a sufficient amount of sleep. A healthy lifestyle can lead to a balanced and full energy, which leads you to become more confident. 

Seeking Support

One of the most underrated strategies is to handle this test anxiety by talking to people like your teachers, instructors and your parents. They can guide you on how to handle your anxiety. Or you just go to the university counselor and talk to them. They are experts, and they will surely help you. Most of them have the experience to guide you. Or join study groups in class and discuss your problems with other students. You can learn how the other students are preparing and handling the pressure.

Test Day Strategies

Above explained strategies can help you handle the test strategies and allow you to feel confident. And complete your test preparation pretty easily. Even after learning these techniques will have their effect, test day has a different level of excitement, and this gives another kind of anxiety. 

But you can save yourself from that excruciating pressure and handle your test like a pro. Here are some methods that can help you manage test-day anxiety.

1.  You should always arrive early and carry all the stuff you will need for your exam. Before leaving your home, check all the things you need for your test. If you think that reaching your college will take half an hour, always leave at least one and a half hours before. 

2. Give a lot of mock tests and prepare yourself for the real test. And think about how you were going to ace this test.

3. While preparing, learn how to manage your time. This is the most crucial part on which you are going to nail it. 

4. When you prepare for the test, learn how to ask difficult questions first. This way, in the test classroom, you will be able to calm yourself down easily because you already know how to answer the difficult questions.

5. And when you finish the test, just leave the test behind. For that day, do not recall it and find all the mistakes you made. Ruminating about your past test will not help you in any way. And you can save yourself from a lot of anxiety. 

Post-Test Coping

I have seen students worry about how they have given their tests. And that is a bad approach to looking at your test experience. That test already happened; you can do anything to change anything from that. 

But you can reflect on your test experience and recall how you were in the test. How were you feeling? Is there anything that can help you to reduce your test anxiety? 

Like reflecting on your test day experience and finding out all the mistakes you made that made you feel anxious, avoiding those mistakes in the future will reduce your anxiety. Not repeating those mistakes will help you maintain a positive mindset. And help you to manage your test anxiety.


Long-Term Anxiety Management


As we explained above, causes and strategies to reduce test anxiety. These things will work if you follow all the steps very carefully and at any point, you start managing your test anxiety. These techniques can help you in the short run and long run. 

But if you want a long-term solution to your problem, then you can manage your anxiety for a long term. How? Here is the solution. 

Those relaxation techniques help you to manage your test anxiety, follow them every day, practice them, use them and have them in your lifestyle. Long-term adoption will affect your mental process and help you reduce your anxiety level. 

Slowly, slowly built self-confidence. Self-confidence will help you to remove this anxiety. Prepare yourself every day to build your confidence. You can do that by setting some small but achievable goals. This practice will lead you to build self-confidence. 

And I know doing this thing on your own is a very hard job. So I will suggest you always seek some professional help. Professionals will find out the root cause of this anxiety and help you to manage it effectively.


Millions of students are facing this test anxiety, but because of some stigma, they do not share this with anyone, not even their parents. But trust me, test anxiety is real, and it has real consequences. If on time this is not managed properly, this can harm students permanently. Test anxiety is real, and it is curable. With the help of teachers, parents, college officials, parents, and fellow students, Student's test anxiety can be reduced and help you to manage your anxiety properly. Students can achieve more and have full control of their performance and self-confidence.

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