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Ten Test Anxiety Myths – Do You Know These Test Stress Facts?    What would you say are some of the myths surrounding test stress and how to control it? It is very helpful to know these myths so you don't fall victim to them. Remember that being test savvy is only one part of being a good test taker. The other part is being able to handle your anxiety so you can maintain a good mind-body state that allows you to be mentally clear, calm, poised and to have wonderful recall and be organized and sharp. Here are ten common myths about test anxiety.    692 words.
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Ten Test Anxiety Myths

Do You Know These Test Stress Facts?



Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California



What would you say are some of the myths surrounding test stress and how to control it? It is very helpful to know these myths so you don't fall victim to them. Remember that being test savvy is only one part of being a good test taker. The other part is being able to handle your anxiety so you can maintain a good mind-body state that allows you to be mentally clear, calm, poised and to have wonderful recall and be organized and sharp. Here are ten common myths about test anxiety. How many do you know?

  1. Only Poor Students Get Nervous Before Or During Tests: False. Anyone can become nervous with tests. Sometimes excellent students perform beautifully on tests, but they pay a tremendous price with their stress symptoms.

  2. Perfect Study Habits And Perfect Test Preparation Guarantees That Test Stress Will Stay Away: False. It is true that confidence comes from competence, but students who ignore the "performance aspects" of test taking are setting themselves up for stress reactions. Stress control techniques need to be practiced as much as any other aspects of test preparation.

  3. Students Who Experience Test Stress Are Mentally Weak: False. Controlling stress has nothing to do with mental weakness. Handling stress is all about developing the mental skills and the stress control skills needed to keep stress at manageable levels.

  4. Simply Ignoring Test Stress Will Make It Go Away: False. Test stress will find you and grab you if you do not take positive steps to cut it off early. Simply trying to pretend it is not there causes a wide range of physical, emotional and mental stress symptoms that result in devastating performance decrements in test taking.

  5. Students Who Handle Test Stress Well Are Born With Special Mental Powers: False. Anyone can learn stress control skills and the mental skills that are required for successful test taking and academic performance.

  6. Test Stress Can Be Successfully Reduced Or Eliminated By Will Power Or Intelligence Alone: False. Will power and IQ has almost nothing to do with handling stress. If that were true, the smartest students would never have stress, and we all know that they feel plenty of stress.

  7. If You Become Nervous Before Or During A Test, That Proves You Did Not Study Well Enough: Partially false. Even students who study like crazy can become nervous before and during tests. However, it is true that if you truly know your material, and have taken the proper practice tests, you will handle stress far better than someone who does not do this.

  8. Test Stress Reduction Techniques Are Complicated And Difficult To Learn: False. Stress management methods for test stress control are simple, easy to learn and practice, and be performed anywhere. Usually no one even knows they are being applied.

  9. Simply Taking Test Preparation Classes And Many Practice Tests Will Guarantee That Test Stress Will Be Eliminated: False. This is one of the biggest myths out there, and one that fools and damages many students and confounds parents. Most SAT prep programs, as wonderful as they are, do NOT address the performance aspects of test taking. They focus on the content, and some test psychology pieces, such as test construction and knowing how to be test savvy. The performance aspects of handling stress is rarely taught in SAT prep courses. This stress control piece is what makes or breaks most students when testing under pressure.

  10. Once Test Stress Shows Up, You Are In Major Trouble And Can't Stop It: Partially true. It is true that stopping stress early is easier than stopping a full-blown stress reaction, but there are plenty of ways to manage stress once in the test, even if you feel it coming on stronger.

Test stress hits everyone, regardless of age, background, academic ability, IQ, socioeconomic status and all other factors. The bottom line is this. Do you have a robust toolkit of stress control strategies and techniques at your disposal, ready to apply in all testing situations? I am ready to help you learn these, master these and apply these to your unique situation.


Knowing about educational psychology and being test savvy is certainly an important part of being a good student, but top students who get consistently high grades also have a knowledge base and applied skills in stress control and peak performance. You need to know how to manage your mind, calm your emotions and relax your body so you can get into the “test zone”, that powerful, deeply focused mind-body state that gives you excellent recall, mental alertness and clarity. You need to learn these skills and become mentally tough so you can handle the extreme pressures of academia. Other mental skills training you need are visualization, confidence-building, mental readiness training and motivation skills.

To learn this set of mental toughness, zone, and stress control skills, sign up for our special Test Anxiety Stress Reduction Program or contact me for a complimentary review of your test-taking skills.


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Copyright © 2011- Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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