You studied for the test in every possible way, and you feel ready and well-acquainted with the material.
But now, on the day of the exam, as you sit tensed and receive the test’s questionnaire, you feel that the stress overwhelms yo
You quickly scan the questions you are asked and feel that all the knowledge you acquired simply disappears and a feeling of “blackout” takes its place, accompanied by a dry mouth, accelerated pulse, paralyzing pressure, and a strong desire to flee.
15% of the population (teenagers and adults) suffer from tests’ anxiety, leading those who suffer from it to feel that they cannot fulfill their potential with regard to examinations in school, at the university, when taking pre-employment tests, sorting and compatibility tests, etc.
Tests’ anxiety is circular and self-nurturing. The anxiety creates a negative circle of reduced academic achievements, leading to increased anxiety, leading to further diminished academic success, and so forth. Such anxiety might influence self-image and the anxious person’s belief in his or her ability to successfully meet the academic entry requirements.
Tests’ anxiety is actually ‘performance anxiety’, whereby a person experiences physical and emotional sensations of pressure in situations when he or she is required to prove to himself and to others ‘what results he or she is capable of achieving’.
There is no gender difference in the prevalence of the phenomenon of tests’ anxiety, and it does not depend on the level of academic achievements. It exists across the spectrum: starting with pupils who have difficulty with a certain subject, or cope with various learning disabilities, and up until exceptional pupils whose command of the material is expressed when they participate in the lesson, but who have difficulty showing their abilities during the test, due to their tests’ anxiety.
According to research, most of the people who suffer from tests’ anxiety find success and achieving goals very important. They are sometimes described as perfectionists, they find it difficult to cope with frustrations, and pleasing others (family members, spouses, colleagues) is important to them. Tests’ anxiety among adults can be typically observed when people take important certification and qualification examinations, such as for the legal Bar, when concluding medicine studies, and for accountants.
People with learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder might develop tests’ anxiety because they lack confidence regarding their ability to take a test. Additionally, if the difficulties were not diagnosed when they were pupils, the tests’ anxiety might increase.
Tests’ anxiety among teenagers taking the SAT exams: the phenomenon of tests’ anxiety greatly increases when teenagers aged 17-18 invest all their time and effort in preparing for the SATs.
It is important to note that there is no correlation between the level of intelligence and tests’ anxiety. The latter is related to a person’s emotional/mental resilience, the level of expectations from himself or herself, or the level of expectations that the people around him or her have. In most cases, it will develop for these reasons, regardless of the person’s I.Q.
The anxiety starts affecting us during the preparation stage, when we feel the pressure, and fear the upcoming test. The maximal effect is during the test itself when the level of anxiety rises and overwhelms us in different ways:
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