Ways to Reduce Test Anxiety

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Most people are nervous before they take an exam. Some stress is natural and normal. But for some people, test anxiety can be debilitating.

There are some steps you can take to reduce test-taking anxiety, the most important of which is, well, making sure you are adequately prepared.

Besides that, here are some suggestions to calm your nerves before a test:


  •  Approach the exam with confidence – concentrate more on the things you know and less on what you wish you’d learned.
  • Remind yourself that a test is only a test.  It’s important, YES, but it doesn’t actually define you as a human being.  If you studied your hardest and did your best, it is the most that can be expected and you can be proud.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and eat something before the test – NEVER take an exam on an empty stomach!
  • Go over your study notes an hour before the test, but then take a deep breath and close your books.
  • Avoid classmates who are freaking out before the test. They might pass their stress on to you.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get to class; you want to arrive early enough to settle in and make sure you have everything you need.
  • Visit disability services. if you had an IEP or a 504 plan in high school, you should be able to get accommodations (extra time, separate setting) in college. (Don’t wait until the week of finals to do this!!)


Don’t try to do any last minute cramming – for every new fact learned, three old ones will zoom straight out of your head.

What do you do to help your test taking anxiety?

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