Effects of Test Anxiety
It is common for students to dread an upcoming examination and is often manageable. However, there are occasions when a student who is well prepared reaches the exam room and suddenly realizes that they cannot remember what they had studied. Test anxiety is often to blame. Experts refer to it as a condition that encapsulates somatic symptoms, tension and psychological over-arousal which comes together with an individual’s fear of failure during a test. Subjects often experience extreme mental torment during this period which as a result of excessive stress and anxiety(Reitz 25). Schools are supposed to be a worthwhile experience for students, but in the case of individuals who experienced test anxiety, their world often seems as though it is coming to an end. A common cause is the fear of failure, especially in the case of an individual who is under immense pressure to perform well in their exams. These individuals often have a sense of worth that is intricately tied to their performance in an exam setting and usually dread the outcome. Moreover, last-minute preparations typically create fertile ground for students to develop test anxiety. An individual who has not taken the time to prepare appropriately for an examination might find themselves in a position where they feel overwhelmed by their present circumstances and often feel anxious due to their last-minute haphazard preparation. Similarly, students with poor test history are usually a victim of this condition as they have had bad experiences with exams and often develop a negative mindset that is detrimental to their psychological equilibrium. In this essay, I will provide an analytical look into test anxiety and the effects that it has on those it afflicts.
One common effect of test anxiety is a poor performance by the subjects. Individuals who develop this condition have heightened levels of tension that affect their ability to perform at optimum. It is common for students who have spent a large chunk of their time preparing for an examination to forget all the material that they had in mind once test anxiety sets in during the test duration. The emotional distress that they experience is responsible for deteriorating academic performance which might subsequently lead to an increase in the rate of school drop-outs. These individuals often develop a negative outlook in life where they only see failure a probable result. It is for this reason that they take it upon themselves to try and find a solution to their debacle by leaving school altogether. Scientific research proves that students with high levels of test anxiety often have scores that are percentiles lower than those of their counterparts with lower levels. It is a phenomenon that is common around the world and has adverse effects in a student’s focus. Poor focus means that a student will be unable to prepare adequately for an examination, a factor which always spells disaster for the parties involved (Sapp 12). The cycle repeats itself all over again with poor preparation often leading to test anxiety. Instead of preparing adequately for their exams, the student is a never-ending state of threat which affects their ability to concentrate on any meaningful task that they are required to carry out. As a result, their cognitive function and attention level are compromised leading to dismal performance during examinations.
Test anxiety can also lead to psychological and physical problems that result from the effects that this condition has on its victims. We currently live in a high-stakes world where performance and thriving academically are highly regarded. If a person is subject to these high expectations, test anxiety might develop which eventually affects their overall academic performance. Such individuals are likely to have a diminished sense of worth and will most likely avoid interacting with other students at the school. Additionally, the physical symptoms that come with the condition may also deal a blow to their overall image. It is common for such individuals to experience nausea, headaches, light-headedness, and diarrhea before facing their exams due to the onset of fear (Sife 34). Those around them may not fully understand this condition and may merely think that it is a sign of mental weakness in the individuals. As a result of these circumstances, the victim might sink deeper into depression and psychological stress that results from the societal pressure that they would be experiencing at a given moment. Isolation becomes the next course of action as they do not feel worthy of being before their peers. Anticipatory anxiety then subsequently affects the student’s mental state as these experiences cause emotional worry and distress. It is common for such persons to contemplate suicide or even take their own lives as they often end up feeling inadequate and unable to fit well in society. Suicide becomes the last resort for a person who has lost all dignity in life where they fell unworthy of existence.
In conclusion, test anxiety is a serious condition that may prove detrimental to those it affects. It is common for victims to record low test results in addition to having a reduced sense of worth. It is therefore essential to sensitize the society about this plague to ensure that students have better coping mechanisms and can deal with the challenges that they may experience in the course of their studies.