Anxiety disorder springs as a result of immense stress, fatigue, depression or trauma. Most patients experience the attacks when they have a close encounter with the subject of their fears. Some experience the symptoms randomly without warning.Suffice to say, the intensity of anxiety attacks varies from one patient to another. Some may suffer nausea, palpitations, excessive sweating, breathing difficulties and stomach upset when their anxiety disorder starts kicking in. In this case, the condition poses no threat to the health of the patients. The attacks may be frightful but they are far from being harmful.
What Are the Roots of Test Anxiety? Test anxiety has its roots in any combination of three causes: psychological, physiological, and intellectual.Let’s look at intellectual first. Many students simply study the wrong way so that when they need to recall information during a test, they just can’t call it up. While most people (about 60%) learn visually, the rest do much better HEARING the information or “experiencing” the information through stories and anecdotes.
For these learners, it is very frustrating trying to fit into an academic world where books and other “visual” learning dominates. By discovering your combination of the three learning styles, you can greatly increase your retention of information and reduce test anxiety.
Physiological reasons behind test anxiety are very powerful and yet very simple and easy to overcome. The biggest culprit in this area is shallow breathing which makes the brain slower and creates headaches and neck aches. By learning some very powerful breathing techniques, you can ensure that your brain gets all the oxygen it needs.
Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) – involves providing real-time rating during the interview. The rates recorded will be compared to those jotted down from the last screening to measure how the symptoms have changed, and whether or not the patient has shown improvements. In contrast to the HAM-A, the ratings will be provided by the patients themselves. The test takes about 20 minutes to complete. There will be 90 items – 83 of which are subdivided in 9 categories including anger, phobia, sleeping patterns, appetite disturbances, psychotic symptoms, paranoia, signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and somatisation.
Hospital anxiety Depression Scale (HAD) – rating test answered by patients at home. This is normally given to those with suspected anxiety disorders prior to their consultation with professionals. The test only lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes and is readily available online. Disorders will be enumerated in the questionnaire and the patients will rate each according to severity. A Zero-to-three scale is used. The scores will be added at the end of the test: 7 or below falls under normal, 8-10 signifies mild condition, 11-14 is moderate, and 15 is severe.
Exercise (or anaerobic movement) One of the great ways to to do this is to walk outside in nature. Walking outside oxygenates the blood and reduces sugars and adrenaline which normally increase test taking anxiety.Nutrition (tailored for study needs) Eliminate caffeine and heavy sugars during the time of test taking. This way you’re not overloaded with chemicals. Make sure you have a solid piece of protein, a piece of fruit and a tall glass of water.
One physician who I treated recently, knew the exam material very well. As he noted, “My problem with this test is my nerves.” Fortunately, he realized he needed help in learning how to calm down prior to the exam and during the actual test in order to pass his board exams. After a few counseling sessions, this doctor was able to successfully pass his certification exam. In addition, he reported little or no anxiety while taking the test.Younger students and their parents often mistakenly believe that prep classes and coaching will rid them of their anxiety. Prep courses are useful, but they do not provide the right kind of help for the the student who has a great deal of anxiety.
Visualize success. The day before the test, see yourself completing the test with ease! Play the entire scenario in your mind from waking up to finishing.Study Well & Prepare.Studying regularly is undoubtedly one of the best ways to build confidence.Pick a seat with few distractions around it.Arrive for the test with materials and optimism. Don’t show up too early or too late. Avoid discussing negativity with school mates. Do not flip through your notes 15 minutes before the exam. Instead, relax and text a friend, read a good magazine or eat a snack.
Tips During the test.Read the directions slowly.Circle important/significant words.Put notes in the margins.If needed, do a memory dump on the back of the test page.Don’t dwell on an unexpected question too long. just skip it and come back to it.If you ever start to feel overwhelmed during the test, utilize a calming technique. Turn your test over, breath deep and focus on something in the room while visualizing something calming like a campfire or beach. Doing this for 30 seconds is one of the best ways to briefly vacation from that exam.Utilize friends, family, therapists and supports that will help you with ways to be calm and peaceful while encouraging you to use proper study habits.