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Identify causes of anxiety to deal with test stress

In order to deal with anxiety on any exam, in particular a TOEFL test, first think about whether your stress is a “truth” or a “lie.” If, for instance, you have not studied for the test, the fear may be a truth. However, if in your head you are feeling worried and your nerves are tense since you do not feel ready or prepared even though you studied a preparation course or prepared in advance, this kind of stress anxiousness is a lie and not logical, but emotional. Focus on reducing your worried thoughts by telling yourself positive self-talk such as “I’m succeeding on the exam. I am ready. I will do the best I can since I studied. When you have managed your time to prepare yourself well beforehand, carefully let go of the emotional lies that fill your mind, and replace those with a truth of confidence before entering the exam.

Anxiousness before a test is when a student thinks about the test before the day of the test; this kind of anxiety is a worry of anticipation. Other students lose their nerves (possibly for good cause) during the actual exam, and that is known as situation stress. Whether the test anxiety comes before or during the test, it can be attributed to either organizational, mental, or behavioral habits.  First, there are students who do not know how to effectively be organized and use time wisely or study in an orderly fashion, so they do not develop their confidence of organizing their study. Next, some students may not have confidence if mentally they are blocked. Let’s say they failed other tests in the past or they had poor test-taking experiences previously, it will affect their way of thinking. They may have a great fear of failing. They may also have negative chatter in their head, which is a voice telling them they will not succeed. It will cause them to worry about the exam process, questions, and results, and it will bring an immensely strong pressure to worry about performing on a test. Lastly, there are other students who do not study enough in advance because they are busy with other things; perhaps they lack of materials or procrastinate, or they form poor study groups, have non-motivational friends, lack sleep, or lack proper food nutrition for the brain. All of these can affect behavior. Once you know where your anxiety comes from—either from poor organization, poor mental strength, or poor behavior— then you can begin to tackle how to reduce your worry before and during an exam.

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