The tension and anxiety that some people feel before a big test or exam can become a true phobia. If you suffer from feelings of panic when you think about sitting down and taking tests, you are not alone. The Latin name for the fear of tests or exams is Testophobia.
Taking tests is generally a source of anxiety for almost everyone. After all, sitting in a silent room and attempting to answer questions correctly can be stressful and worrisome. If you feel unprepared or worried about failing, the test-taking may become something you dread.
Walking into an examination room and knowing your life will be affected depending upon how you do on a test can cause symptoms of panic and distress in many people. Keeping calm and applying your knowledge to the questions on your exam becomes very difficult when your brain and body are flooded with stress and tension.
Why Does It Happen?
Obviously, the more you worry about your results, the more anxious you will be about taking examinations and tests. If you feel confident that you’ve studied hard and learned the coursework, you will not feel as insecure and frightened when you sit down to write an exam. But some people who are excellent students also suffer from the fear of tests. They worry that the questions presented to them may be different than the things they studied. They worry that they will freeze and forget vital information. They may also worry about time constraints, and their ability to express their thoughts and explain their answer in essay questions.
A poor student will tend to dread tests as a matter of course, but, as touched upon in the last paragraph, this phobia can afflict any type of student. A student who is demanding of themselves, and a perfectionist, will also be susceptible to this disorder.
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If you are taking tests, the results may have huge implication for your future education and career. For example, you may be attempting to get into Law School, or taking an aptitude test for a job with the government. Your results on some tests can be the decisive factor in whether or not you follow a certain career path. The ramifications of failing certain tests can be hard to take. If your dreams are tied up with the results of certain tests, it can be crushing when your result does not allow you to pursue the thing you want. However, most tests can be taken more than once (such as Bar Exams).
Symptoms Of Testophobia
If you have this phobia, the thought of taking a test or exam will trigger a panic attack. You will feel sweaty, nervous and upset. Your heart may race, and you may feel emotional and out of control. You will find it hard to cope with any task while these symptoms are flooding your body. You’ll feel nauseous and possibly lightheaded.
Treatment Of Fear Of Tests
There are many ways you can heal this phobia. It doesn’t have to stay with you for your whole life or education. If your anxiety is rooted in fear of failing tests, you must learn to prepare yourself as best you can. Tutors and meetings with your professor to discuss expectations will allow you to take control of your fears and ease you mind. Making sure that you do the necessary preparation in the right way will go a long way towards lessening your symptoms on the day of your test.
Beyond education and preparation, therapy can heal you. Talking to a qualified professional in the mental health field can get at the root of why you are so afraid. If your fear of failure is connected to feelings of poor self-worth and low self-esteem, you can talk things out with someone who understands. In some cases, cognitive therapy can retrain the brain to see things differently.
Alternative therapies such as hynotherapy have been used with mixed results for the treatment of this disorder.