How to deal with test anxiety

You know this feeling:
You’re on your way to school, about to take a test. as you’re making your way to school, you feel your heart pounding in your chest, breaking is deep and short and your head is filled with voices telling you you’re going to fail, that you could just as well go back home because you’re just going to blank.

You enter the room, talk to your classmate and realize they are way better prepared.

And then it’s time to make the test!

Hi, for those who don’t know, I suffer from fear of failure. This is something that often shows itself around tests, essays and assessments. in my case its result and consequential related (so the fear of the consequences of making a mistake).

But even if you don’t have fear of failure, things like tests can be nerve-wracking and make you break out in a cold sweat.

Here are some tips that might help you with getting those nerves a little bit more under control.
(I’m going to use myself in a lot of examples, not because I like to talk about myself, but it’s the easiest to use examples from personal experiences)

1. Understand your own fear

Understanding what it is that you’re scared of will help you get to the core of the fear. it helps you understand how your fear is triggered and maybe even what causes it.


Cause: My fear of failure is a result of (1)my dyslexia, (2) having a competitive sister who liked to show she could do everything I did but better due to her lack of confidence in herself, so she needed proof to herself by being better and (3) a teacher who told me over and over that I was making mistakes but then didn’t tell me how to do it correctly.

effect: I am used to struggling with things others find easy (1). I don’t see my skills as something that is special and expect others to be able to do it as well and better (2) and I when I do something it’s never good enough, I expect that there’s always something wrong and never good enough to be qualified as ‘passable’.

Result: I tell myself to be BETTER, I am not allowed to make mistakes and can’t ask for help because I need to do it on my own.

Solution: accept that I make mistakes, have people remind me sometimes(friends, family, teachers), have quotes that tell me ‘you can do it’, ‘you worked hard for it’. ‘you’re allowed to make mistakes’.

2 Accept you’re going to make mistakes.

You are allowed to make mistakes. You’re not expected to make a test 100% right, get an A++ or whatever.


You’re no super human, don’t put more pressure on yourself than needed because one mistake isn’t going to change who you are and what you can.

3 Talk to people (especially a teacher)

I’ve realized that when I talked to a teacher, they don’t turn me away, even the terrible teachers. They may tell you that they can’t help you, but there are teachers who can. Especially if you have a test such as an assessment where you can start stumbling on words due to your nerves, it’s important to say you’re nervous or scared.

They might give you some tips how to keep it under control from previous students, or they might take it into an account during grading if it’s a practical tests.

  1. Food.
    YES, there’s actually a food-related way to get your nerves down. Stuff like Nuts, Fish with fat, DARK CHOCOLATE and green tea are all food (and drinks) that help you reduce stress. So if you really wanna treat yourself, eat some dark chocolate before entering the exam hall.

Here’s a link that explains it more:

5. Allow yourself some rest before.

Do something fun, go for a walk, meditate or listen to music. After all the studying, your brain needs a break or else it will start mixing things and you end in this loop of material.

6. Accept the fear.

Sounds easy right!? well, it isn’t. But for some people, it helps to think of the nervousness as your body getting ready for battle or a challenge. Imagine that this test is a gladiator fight, and you are just waiting to enter the arena. Wouldn’t it be logical to be nervous then? your body is building adrenaline so you can focus on this challenge.

Besides, nerves are also a sign that you want to do well, which isn’t always a bad thing. You care about your future, about the results and your effort to study, so you want a good result. So be a nervous wreak, but don’t let is effect your results!

There are so many ways to deal with is, and I found that this video shows an interesting perspective on stress in general.

@Students I hope these tips will help you a little!
You can do this!

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I don’t know how people can deal with it. In my case nothing works

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do you know the reason of your anxiety?

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I don’t know… I’m generally such an anxious person and maybe a bit of perfectionist with a fear of failure sooo… That’s what I tell myself but whooo knows :woman_shrugging:t2:

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what is it that you find worse? making a mistake or getting a lower grade?

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Both :sweat_smile: I don’t know… It’s not that I care that much as long as I feel like I did good after but I just… I can’t explain. It’s just extremely stressful

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