It’s finals week! For anyone struggling with anxiety about upcoming finals, read on to educate yourself and learn some tips to manage this anxiety and increase your studying and testing performance!


by Emma Burke

Finals week is here and despite countless hours of studying, most of us are still very anxious about what lies ahead. For many of us there really is no way to feel completely prepared when it comes to exams. No matter how long we study, how many all-nighters we pull, or how many flashcards we make, we cannot stop the feeling in the pit of our stomach that we are going to fail. While we study, we continually get distracted by the fear that we are going to show up to the exam and blank out, or maybe we’ll get so nervous in the middle of the test that we’ll have trouble breathing.  These are normal symptoms of test anxiety, a very common experience in which we feel so much stress that our studying and testing performances are hindered.

  1. Why do we experience test anxiety? Test anxiety can be a result of a previous negative testing experience. For example, if you did poorly on last quarter’s Chemistry final, you may be a bit more prone to experiencing test anxiety for this quarter’s Chemistry final. This is a natural way for your body to remind you to be aware so that you hopefully don’t repeat your negative experience. Another reason you may have test anxiety is that you may have general anxiety or stress in your daily life. If you notice that you have uncomfortable levels of stress about ordinary tasks on a daily basis and wish to talk to someone about it, be sure to reach out to CAPS  for free and confidential services.
  2. How do I manage test anxiety? One of the biggest things you may be worried about if you are experiencing test anxiety is the fear of what your body will do out of nervousness while testing. For example, it is very common to experience shallow breathing and increased heart rate during testing, which would understandably produce some fear during the middle of your test. However, the great news is that often just taking some deep breaths and practicing some relaxation techniques can very effectively calm our bodies down and help us feel less anxious. It is often helpful to practice relaxation techniques both before and during your test. And the best part is that many relaxation techniques are so subtle, no one will even know that you’re doing them, so you can even do them during the exam! You can find some great relaxation techniques here.

And most importantly, remember that this one test, or even this one quarter’s finals will not determine your path in life. You have been working hard all quarter and you’ve learned a lot! That is something that one bad grade can never take away from you. You know your stuff, so go out there and do your best! And have a great spring break!