What happens to you when you have to take a test for school or your job? Some people aren’t good at test taking or say they are bad test takers. Everyone undergoes anxiety in some form when faced with a test, but there are millions of people who go through more than just sweaty palms – they go from panic attacks to full blown memory loss.

What would cause such an extreme reaction to test taking? In a word, pressure, either put on by others (like parents) or whether the person puts it on themselves, performance anxiety or test anxiety, as the condition is called, is caused by stress and can come out in physical or mental symptoms – such as butterflies in the stomach, pounding heartbeat or headaches. When it gets to a point where you freeze up or zone out, then you have a problem!

Parents with children who come home with bad grades often believe the child is not paying attention or are lazy. In many cases this is far from what is actually going on. The child could be suffering from test anxiety. The fact is, low tests scores are not always indicative of a lazy or unmotivated person, and many intelligent people are not able to take a test.

My friend Sally, a very bright young lady, once confided in me that she couldn’t take a test if there was any grade involved, or it was important for a job. She told me she could pass a test with flying colors if there was nothing at stake, but when there was a grade or job she wanted involved she simply could not take the test. “Everything just flew out of mind while taking the test, even though I was fully prepared and knew the material backwards and forward.”

Perfectionists, who put pressure on themselves to be the best, or people whose parents are putting pressure on them to get good grades, are among the top candidates for test anxiety. Ironically, this pressure is what stops them from achieving their best. Others who experience test anxiety are usually unprepared, may find the material too difficult, did not get enough rest, or are not getting the proper nutrition.

There are numerous techniques to improve your memory that can be used to eliminate test anxiety.

Ask for help! Consult with memory experts or take some memory training courses to help you re-learn how to remember and develop good study habits.

Don’t cram the night before the test, it won’t help! The better you know the material the easier it is to remember, and the more confident you will feel. You can’t learn in one night what you should have been learning all along. If you don’t understand the subject matter, ask your teacher to explain – or get a tutor.

Get organized and manage your time. Develop good study habits, and learn to improve your study skills.  Organize your study room and materials to make learning more comfortable. Don’t procrastinate about studying just before a big test.

You may think you can get something done with music in the background, but your brain has to do double duty by tuning out background noise while concentrating. Get away from any distractions, turn off the radio and television when studying.

Get a good night’s sleep –Studies show people who got enough rest – at least 8 hours, prior to taking a test are three times more likely to do well on a test.

Food fuels the body, and the mind, so eat a good meal full of protein and no added sugar.  Sugar gives you a quick rush, but has a quick decline as well, so you may start off quick from the gate, but your finish leads a lot to be desired. A spike in sugar levels at the beginning of the test will lead to a plummet toward the middle and you need to have sugar levels even throughout the entire test.

Think Positively! Don’t dwell on what can happen if you don’t pass, concentrate on how great it will be when the test is over and you did. Negative energy brings negative results.. Also, don’t worry about your anxiety, it just makes you more anxious.

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker, and I want to help you to improve your study skills and help you get through your test anxiety through proper memory coaching.




Increase Concentration And Recall – Extinguish Test Anxiety: http://www.articlesbase.com/adhd-articles/increase-concentration-and-recall-extinguish-test-anxiety-1906965.html

Study Guides and Strategies website – Overcoming test anxiety: http://www.studygs.net/tstprp8.htm

Teens Health (from Nemours) – Test Anxiety: http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/test_anxiety.html#