My Struggle with Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is an issue that hurts a lot of college students; especially, when tests make up a large portion of their grades. Test anxiety affects my job at being a productive and successful student, because I get to a test and blank immediately as I sit down. I can study for hours upon hours and know the material, I just can’t seem to make it appear that way on a test. I normally have anxiety and depression that affects me in my normal and everyday life; however, when I go to class on exam day it’s a lot worse. I can take my as needed medication and try to relax but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t recall the information I usually know. It makes me feel stupid and inadequate to other students who do very well on tests and don’t suffer from a ton of test anxiety.

It also doesn’t help that I focus on  how much of my grade is made up by tests. I remind myself all the time that A huge portion of my grade is based on tests that I need to take and do well on, because I want to get good grades, and thatI also need good grades in order to get into a good grad school for when I choose to go for my master’s degree and possibly onto vet school. Vet school is extremely competitive to get in to, and guess what you need to get into vet school: a huge and complicated TEST that I will possibly pass out during because I’ll be stressing out.

I understand that exams are a necessary evil, but I also think there should be another category with a similar weight to it, like a project or another way for students to test their knowledge. I can write a great research paper, and I actually enjoy writing them, which is probably weird to a lot of people. I love going deep into research and learning new things about a topic that I probably didn’t know much about in the past. Research papers give me time to put my thoughts together and apply the knowledge in a concise and proper way. Tests don’t give me the time to get my thoughts together properly. I can be handed a nine-page exam and be expected to get through it in 60 minutes, so not only do I blank, I don’t get the proper amount of time to blank and still do well on the exam.

To be fair, I probably wouldn’t recall the information no matter the amount of time I’m being given. However, knowing there’s a clock ticking doesn’t help my stress levels. I believe the system of testing students is never based on their knowledge, and doesn’t really teach them anything. They’ll probably never look at it again once the test is over because there’s nothing to worry about anymore.

If you hand a student a project where they truly need to apply the knowledge that they should be learning, they’ll probably remember it better by continuously using their knowledge and applying it to something rather than answering multiple choice. Do you want to know what I remember from a multiple-choice test? Nothing, I remember nothing. But I can tell you all about my ten-page research paper I wrote for 10th grade honors English about depression.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, when in an exam, it can be helpful to have a few tips and tricks to help you reduce anxiety and get a better grade. Even though procrastinating can be what is most likely, I have found it better to study a few days in advance for an exam. It helps build my confidence with the material and definitely reduces stress. Also, maintaining a positive attitude can help a lot more than you think it can cause negative thinking will cause more stress. Developing good test-taking strategies; such as,  answering questions you know first and then coming back to the harder ones later. Also making a quick study sheet at the beginning, on a scratch sheet of paper will get the ideas onto the paper and out of your head. Overall, I am not a fan of exams and they give me extreme anxiety to the point of blanking and cause me to get bad grades. Also I believe there are better ways to test a student’s knowledge and what they have learned in the class.