Overcoming Test Taking Anxiety

Test or performance anxiety can make you feel like this……with worry and overthinking,  you lose your natural ability to do what you have already mastered. 

If you preform well on practice tests when there is no pressure but lock up, get overwhelmed and begin to spin out of control with worry, anxiety performance coaching may be just the right thing for you. When there is a lot at stake like getting into business, law school, med school, then stress mounts impairing per your ability to focus, concentrate, remember and this results in poor scores, decreased confidence and a feeling of helplessness to overcome it. Like any pressured situation whether it be a test, musical performance, athletic endeavor, learning to manage or eliminate anxiety is the key to achievement.

How does test or performance anxiety happen? (just to name a few). This cycle illustrates how anxiety becomes the culprit in impairing performance.

  1.  It is learned behavior
  2.  The association of scores, grades become linked to personal self-worth
  3.  Feeling out of control or overwhelmed by the impact of the scores 
  4.  Fear of alienation or criticism from friends, family or self on inability to live up to expectations
  5. Timed tests intensify fear
  6.  Pressures of an audition for dance, music, sports by obtaining a particular score to be a viable candidate for a graduate program or scholarship
  7.  Low self-confidence and self-esteem
  8.  Pressure from perfectionism
  9.  Negative self-talk

With the right guidance and help, this is a very fixable problem! Techniques for performance or test anxiety before and during the test (whatever that test might be) include:

  • Cognitive strategies including thought stopping, reframing and affirmations.
  • Physical and mental relaxation
  • Mental rehearsal
  • Stress management
  • Meditation and/or mindfulness
  • Self-soothing strategies
  • Biofeedback

The practice of proper thinking techniques for positivity, muscle relaxation, mental calm, proper breathing techniques, mental rehearsal, mind clearing tools are standard approaches to help you get yourself feeling and taking control of your mind and body. 

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Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor brings thirty years of experience in practicing counseling psychology with individuals and couples. His approach is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Specific specialties include; anxiety and stress management, chronic pain & chronic illness management, depression, substance abuse evaluations, employee assistance and executive coaching for workplace performance and leadership.