What Causes Test Anxiety and How to Deal With It?
by Tiffany Cox, LMT
Frazzled nerves, knotted stomach, sweaty hands, frantic mind are all symptoms of:
a) stage fright
b) food poisoning
c) test anxiety
d) all of the above
If you chose c), test anxiety, then I can help you! (If you chose b) you should probably see a doctor!)
We all know tests can cause levels of anxiety ranging from a restless sleep the night before an exam to a complete and utter breakdown of all rational thought and functioning. I’m here to let you know you don’t have to be part of the latter category if you learn one simple tactic.
Imagine strolling into the State or National Board Exam Room, prepared, calm, alert, and even smiling!
Are you thinking, “No Way!”?
Well, I say, “Yes Way!” And I can tell you how to do it.
If you’ve been following my blog, you might not be surprised when I tell you it’s all about (are you ready for it?)…..intuition.
“Huh?” you ask. “Then why the heck did I just go to school for a year and pay them $8,000 to teach me what I already know??”
Don’t worry, all those skills, facts, and study tools provided in massage school are exactly what you need to feel comfortable enough to trust your gut in the first place.
The State and National Boards for Massage Therapy Licensure are similar to the medical boards for physical and occupational therapists, nurses, and even doctors. Most of the exams are entirely multiple choice, but within those choices is the gauge by which your professional value will be determined.
“Multiple choice tests are so easy!” you scoff. “No sweat.”
I partially agree with that statement, with one exception ~ the multiple choice in these tests are all correct answers, and you have to choose the best one.
Doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?
I know you’re probably thinking I’m doing a lousy job of alleviating your distress, but just hang on because I’m getting there.
Knowing there is no wrong answer will be the key to your success, and your nerves, stomach & sweaty hands will fall in line when they realize things are under control.
The motivation for this testing technique is that it is the most effective measure of a person’s true capabilities, because it instigates the most accurate engineered real-life responses. You make these kinds of choices every single day without a thought.
For example, you brought some leftover vegetable lasagna, some mixed nuts, and a raspberry yogurt for lunch but you only have time to eat two items and you have to remain alert and fueled for another four hours. That’s easy ~ you eat the nuts and yogurt for the protein and sugar. Even packing the lunch, you had to make choices in your best interest.
If we sat down to think about how many times a day we employ this technique of “testing ourselves” our brains would ctrl+alt+delete. This method of deduction is our default mode; it’s survival of the fittest, even at our most elemental levels.
Learning to allow that predisposition to permeate all the way to what we perceive to be our most calculated functions, such as test-taking, will eliminate the anxiety performance pressures cause.
For those of you doing somersaults thinking you’re off the hook for studying, I hate to burst your happy-bubble, but you still have to do that part, too.
It all comes down to being able to integrate and balance that mastery with your inner awareness, allowing them to function symbiotically while becoming adept at utilizing that discerning potential.
Once you become a proficient interpreter in this system of deduction, it will integrate itself into your thoughts and actions as an expression of your second-nature. Your awareness of these mental selections will diminish with repetition, replacing it with a self-confidence to rival any of your other mental faculties.
It will transform into a peaceful reassurance within your core, and give you the security and confidence to trust that you will operate to the best of your abilities in whatever you do.
And enacting that revelation will be the true test of your success.