Most college students experience anxiety when confronted with an examination. In fact, it might be somewhat worrisome if they did not. This could mean, for example, that one just does not care enough about his or her academic performance. For some students, however, the anxiety they feel about tests is above and beyond what most people experience, and their ability to perform well is impaired.
Sufferers of test anxiety feel great apprehension and dread of testing situations. They might have all the physiological symptoms that one might have encountering a bear in the woods: increased heart and breathing rates, excess perspiration, “cold and clammy” feelings, poor concentration, and fidgeting or jitteriness. They might also have associated negative thoughts, such as “Oh, my God, I’m going to bomb this test”, or “I am going to flunk out of school.” Sometimes, the anxiety is so high that thinking itself is impaired, such that one goes completely “blank.” As a result of the very aversive experience of tests, some people avoid them altogether.
Test anxiety has nothing to do with intelligence and is a very treatable problem. Through the counseling that is available at the University, one can learn to modify the negative thoughts and anxious arousal that goes along with examinations. Often, the test anxiety sufferer begins to feel and do better within days of receiving help.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of test anxiety, get the help that is available at the University. Contact the Counseling Center at 348-3863 and schedule an appointment or talk to a counselor for more information.