The Definition of Test Anxiety
Has you ever experienced having headaches before taking an important exam? What about being nauseated after it? Or going completely blank during an exam that took you hours to prepare for? If the mere mention of the word test makes you shiver, then you might be suffering from test anxiety.
The definition of test anxiety can be summed up as a condition where in someone emotionally or physically experiences distress at prior, during or after taking an exam. A psychologist’s definition of test anxiety is wherein the anxiety gets in the way of the person’s performance in school, to the extent of it affecting his/her ability to learn even outside school.
To further give the definition of test anxiety, you have to understand its cause. It is generally caused by a negative experience a person had because of a certain exam. If the anxiety is felt before an exam is taken, then the negative experience may have had something to do with the preparation. It may be the lack or the over-doing of it. Thus, each time a test would come up, the person feels agitated just with the thought of having to prepare for it.
The definition of test anxiety can also be exhibited while it’s ongoing. Despite the preparation done prior to a major examination, he/she suddenly had a mental block, causing him/her to fail. Thus, the person ends up fearing major examinations. The definition of test anxiety can also be derived from an experience that happened after the test. There must have been a time that a person failed even after over-preparing for the said exam. This caused him to panic after every test he/she encounters in school.
There are also studies being done to see if the definition of test anxiety can be taken from a genetic factor. As this is considered as a psychological condition, scientists believe that a person’s propensity to excessively worry about an exam may have something to do with the genes that are responsible for your anxiety threshold.
Most psychologists, however, ties the definition of test anxiety to a person’s self-esteem. If a person is an over-achiever, he is likely to suffer from this condition because of the unreasonable goal he/she has set for himself/herself. He/she feels pressured to perform well in every examination. Therefore, the definition of test anxiety is loosely based on perfectionism.
The symptoms that could give the definition of test anxiety can be categorized into four. The first is the physical symptoms that are manifested through headaches, upset stomach, nausea or palpitation; second is emotional, which is characterized by excessive fear or anger; third is behavioural, which is when one fidgets, avoids or turns into drugs; and lastly, cognitive which is experiencing mental block or feelings of dread.
There are several explanations that could be given to clearly give the definition of test anxiety. It is important that one seeks professional assistance to overcome the condition. This is because the condition has the tendency to creep up on a person and affect his/her entire life.