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Test Anxiety

Updated on August 12, 2012

Most students over the world suffer from a feeling of nervousness, uncertainty, and fear to fail in tests or exams. This state of unease or as it is called ‘’ Test Anxiety’’ can negatively affect the candidates sitting for exams as well as the result of the test itself. This paper explains why Test Anxiety is a problem and provides some suggested solutions for it.

One problem of Test Anxiety is that it affects performance and leads to irrelevant test results. It has been stated by many students that the final result of their tests were affected by the state they were in before and during tests. To put this more simply, the uncomfortable feeling of fear and uncertainty leads to poor concentration before and during test performance. Students in such stressful situations can not well organize their thoughts when they study for tests. Moreover, suffering form this problem during test performance causes ‘’difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper’’ (Tullos). Consequently, it influences the final outcome of the test.

In addition to the academic problems stated above, Test Anxiety has physical problems which can add negative effects on students’ life. Test takers who are in this condition suffer from pains and aches. A student says ‘’ before test I suffer from a terrible stomachache and my heart beat highly increase’’. Brian (2003) have mentioned some other physical effects of Test Anxiety such as: “racing heartbeat, upset stomach (e.g., butterflies), muscles tension, perspiration (e.g., sweaty palms, and headache” (p.258)

Furthermore, modern research has indicated that Test Anxiety has psychological dimensions. One psychological effect has been stated by (The University of Alabama), ‘’ text anxiety may result from concern about how others will view you if you do poorly’’. In other words, some students put high expectations for themselves among other people in relation to obtaining high grades and they are deeply affected by the opposite result, i.e. obtaining low grades. According to this, students may lose their self-confidence. In addition to expectations of doing too poorly in a test, there are some more psychological effects such as little sleep, restlessness, constant worry, and depression.

Though of those problems Test Anxiety can cause, there are many solutions to overcome it. Well preparation for tests or exams is an advisable technique. Brian (2008) suggested the SQ3R technique in which he advices students to Survey the information and Question what they read. Then he advices them to Read again with the questions in mind and Review the collected ideas. The final step of this technique is to Recite the material for comprehension.(p.263,264). Relaxation, good organization, and enough sleep can also reduce this problem.

To sum up briefly, Test Anxiety is a serious problem that can has negative effects mainly on the academic performance as well as the students’ life. However, it can be reduced by well organized study and relaxation.


Brian, G (2003). Overcoming Test Anxiety: Giving Students the Ability to Show What They Know. Retrieved from

The University of Alabama- Center for Academic Success ( n.d.).What causes test anxiety? Retrieved from

Tullos,K. (n.d). Overcoming test anxiety.

Chen, M.A., M.S., J. (2004). Effects of test anxiety, time pressure, ability And gender on response aberrance. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from The Ohio State University.

Cherry,K. (n.d.). What Causes Test Anxiety? The Potential Causes of Test Anxiety Retrieved from


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    • Hawa Cohen profile image

      Hawa Cohen 5 years ago from The occupied Palestinian territories

      A little amount of anxiety is something healthy.... But we should never let it exceed the limits :)