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Strategies to overcome academic anxiety

We all experience some level of anxiety before a test. For some students, taking an exam or giving a speech can be very agonizing. These challenges may represent a do-or-die challenge that brings out one's doubts, fears and frustrations.

Relax, keep things in perspective. It may not be possible to eliminate all anxiety levels, but here are a few strategies that may help you manage and reduce your level of anxiety.

Be academically prepared. Study what is going to be on the exam in advance. Self-test yourself. Create or find similar tests as practice tests.

Don't cram. Cramming for a test will only increase test anxiety.

Be physically prepared. Be rested and nourished.

Visualize success. Think positively. Use positive affirmations. "I have all the knowledge I need to succeed." If you find yourself freezing up, pause and clear the tension and negative thoughts from your mind. Focus and manage your thoughts.

Anxiety is created by a person's thoughts or expectations about what is likely to happen. The remedy for dealing with negative mental aspects is to replace the negative messages with positive messages. Learn to manage and control your thought processes.

Focus on the test. Choose a seat where you will not be easily distracted. Read instructions and questions thoroughly before writing your answers. Do not focus on what others are doing. There is no reward for finishing the test first.

Relax and breathe. If you start to freeze up, take a few slow deep breaths and count them as you breathe. Five or ten is a good number; enough to bring plenty of calming oxygen in to your system. Now focus and tell yourself, "I will succeed."

Pace yourself. Do not rush through the test. Work on the easiest portions first, gain confidence. You can do it! If you go blank, skip the question and move onto the next question.

Learn from your experiences. Manage your level of anxiety and find solutions to help you succeed. Always believe in your ability to achieve!

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