Hope For The Journey

Overcoming Test
Anxiety: Tips and
Tricks for College

As a college student, it’s likely that you’ve experienced some form of test anxiety. Whether it’s that feeling of dread leading up to an exam or the panic that sets in when you’re handed a test, test anxiety can be a major obstacle to academic success. But fear not, there are plenty of strategies you can use to overcome test anxiety and perform at your best. In this blog post, we’ll delve into why test anxiety happens, what some common symptoms are, and most importantly, what you can do to combat it.

Understanding Test Anxiety


Test anxiety occurs when a student experiences extreme nervousness or apprehension before or during a test. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including physical symptoms like sweating or shaking, racing thoughts, and a feeling of general unease. It’s important to understand that some level of anxiety is normal and can even help increase your focus and motivation. But when it becomes excessive, it can actually impede your performance on the test.


Test Anxiety:  Recognizing the Symptoms


As mentioned above, test anxiety can come in many forms. Common physical symptoms may include muscle tension, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and nausea. You may also experience difficulty concentrating or remembering information, negative self-talk or self-doubt, and an overall sense of dread or panic. These symptoms can be particularly effective at derailing your test-taking strategy and reducing your score. College students obviously are interested in making sure they have the best test scores possible. So, understanding the symptoms of test anxiety is very helpful. 

Test Anxiety:  Strategies for Overcoming Test Anxiety


The good news is that there are a host of strategies you can use to help overcome test anxiety. One of the most effective ways is through good old-fashioned preparation. By studying in advance and feeling confident in your knowledge of the material, you can reduce the impact of anxiety when test day finally arrives. Other strategies may include deep breathing exercises, meditation or visualization techniques, and positive self-talk or affirmations. Physical exercise before the test can also be an excellent way to regulate your nervous system and get you mentally ready for an exam. It’s important to experiment and find out what

strategies work best for you – what may work for one person may not work for another.

Test Anxiety:  Is Counseling Helpful?


Counseling can be a helpful tool in managing test anxiety. A therapist can work with you to identify the underlying causes of your anxiety and develop coping mechanisms to reduce symptoms. Counseling can be very helpful in improving your performance and confidence in test situations. 


One approach is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps you identify negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anxiety and replace them with positive, rational thoughts. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can also be effective. With EMDR, you can even do a future template where you imagine yourself in a future test situation and install a positive belief such as “I’m capable”. EMDR doesn’t just give you a mantra to repeat. It actually helps rewire your brain so that you actually FEEL capable (or whatever other positive belief you choose) going into the next test situation. Other techniques to manage testing anxiety include deep breathing exercises, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and exposure therapy.

If you’re experiencing test anxiety, it’s important not to ignore it. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, and it may even become worse if left untreated. Instead, seek help from a qualified counselor. To get started, make an appointment with a counselor who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.


Test Anxiety:  Creating a Support System for College Students


Many college students feel isolated in their struggles with test anxiety, which only compounds the problem. However, there are often supportive resources available, whether that’s talking to a counselor, meeting with a study group, or reaching out to a trusted friend or mentor. It can be helpful to acknowledge that test anxiety is a common experience and that you’re not alone in your struggles. Having a supportive network can help you identify your triggers and develop strategies to overcome them.


Test Anxiety:  Keeping Perspective


Finally, it’s important to remember that tests are just one measure of your academic success. While a good test score can be a confidence boost, it’s by no means the only marker of your intelligence, work ethic, or potential. Try to keep a broader perspective and focus on your overall performance and growth, rather than zeroing in on just one test or grade.




In conclusion, test anxiety can be a real challenge for college students, but it’s by no means unconquerable. By understanding what causes it, recognizing the symptoms, and developing strategies to overcome it, you can perform at your best and achieve academic success. And remember, you’re not alone – there are plenty of supportive resources available to help you along the way. So don’t let anxiety get in the way of your academic dreams – you’ve got this!

Struggling with Test Anxiety? Get help today.

At Hope For The Journey, we recognize dealing with anxiety is HARD! That’s why we work to make getting started with counseling easy & staying in therapy to be worthwhile. Our therapists follow a proven method to help clients heal so they can feel alive and find joy.

You can learn more about our therapists here or to schedule an appointment look at our contact page today! 


Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

We offer a variety of services from our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depressiondomestic violencesexual assaultPTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adultschildren and tweenscouplesmen, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement!

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