Test anxiety is a common phenomenon that occurs before or during an important test or exam. It is basically a combination of physiological tension and somatic symptoms. While some anxiety may be normal and even helpful to stay alert, it can also hinder you from performing your best.
Anxiety reactions are often generalized from previous experiences to testing situations. If you worried about tests in school, you are also very likely to worry about your DMV driver’s license exam or permit exam.
Test anxiety is very similar to stage fright, which is the performance anxiety a performer can feel before and during a performance in front of an audience. Many athletes experience the same tension before an important game or competition.
The physical symptoms are triggered when the body releases adrenaline into the blood. This is known as the “fight or flight” syndrome, which is a naturally occurring process in the body done to protect itself from harm.
When Your Anxiety Will Grow
One thing that will certainly make your anxiety grow is when you put the focus in the wrong place. If you try to resist and fight your anxiety, you will add to the idea of an exam as a threat. It will most likely also trigger negative thoughts; “I always perform badly when I am nervous”.
Focus on the Test, not Your Anxiety
If you have a serious problem with anxiety, make sure you give yourself a lot of time to prepare. Develop a good study strategy, based on your needs. Create a positive and relaxed environment for your studies.
Simulate exam conditions with the free practice tests. Pretend it is the real thing. When you hit a success rate of 90% on the practice test, save the feeling of success and keep a positive attitude. You can do this. In fact you already have.
You should perhaps even reward yourself at this point? Ice cream, anyone?
Add this to your positive thinking: Questions on the real knowledge test are not harder than the practice tests you did at home. It is just the DMV environment that is different. Why should this bother you?
Learn from professional athletes. You have done your best to prepare for this. Now, see yourself succeeding instead of failing.
In your mind you could focus on one easy question, like the stop sign. Sure, you know that one. The rest will not be more difficult. And don’t tell yourself that anxiety has anything to do with your result.
You can do well even if you are a bit nervous.
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