Recognizing Test Anxiety

Recognizing test anxiety is the first step to finding more success when test time rolls around. Learn more about test anxiety responses below and what you can do to curb your test anxiety.

Physical Responses

Feeling Ill

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sweating on the hands, forehead, or underarms
  • Heart racing or pounding
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling, shaking, or shivering
  • Upset stomach, cramping, nausea, or vomiting
  • Dizziness, faintness, or disturbed balance
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Overall weakness, especially in arms or legs

Feeling Restless

  • Pacing
  • Tapping foot
  • Speaking quickly
  • Drumming pencil or pen on desk
  • Difficulty relaxing after the exam

Mental Responses

Self-Esteem Issues

  • Thinking "I'm going to flunk" before the test begins
  • Worrying what friends and family will think if you fail
  • People thinking you're too uptight
  • Expecting the worst
  • Thinking of yourself as stupid when you don't know an answer or make a simple mistake
  • Fluctuating self-esteem levels based on test results

Attention & Concentration Issues

  • Wandering mind
  • Unable to concentrate on the questions
  • Paying too much attention to one part of the test or a minor detail
  • Losing your place on the answer sheet
  • Failing to check your work completely
  • Misreading questions
  • Unintentionally skipping a question

Memory Issues

  • Can't remember material that is well learned
  • Mind goes blank during exam

Organizational Issues

  • Jumping around on test questions
  • Staying on one question for an excessive amount of time
  • Plunging into the exam without reading the directions carefully
  • Beginning to read or answer a question but not finishing it

Academic Responses

On Test Day

  • Giving up and turning in the test early
  • Postponing or otherwise delaying taking the test
  • Skipping class on test day

During Your Academic Career

  • Failing the class
  • Dropping the class
  • Changing your major
  • Withdrawing from the semester or from college entirely

Resources to Help with Test Anxiety

Academic Support

Academic Coaching

Academic Coaches at the Student Success Center help students develop their skills and strategies for learning efficiently and effectively.

Things our coaches can help you with:

  • define a specific game plan that can be used for an upcoming exam
  • evaluate and implement learning styles & strategies
  • learn how to master reading college texts
  • help in creating outlines, notes, and study materials
  • review tips for effective studying & successful learning
  • address text anxiety or other stressors
  • assess time management to maximize study time for challenging areas while balancing college life and other time demands


Tutors at the Student Success Center are available to help you feel confident in a wide range of UARK courses.


Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) help students navigate the pressures of college-life and beyond with various evidence-based mental health services and programs. All CAPS programs and services are designed to meet the academic, developmental, remedial and preventive needs of the campus community.

CAPS Mental Health Services:

  • Short-term individual counseling
  • Psychiatry
  • Group Therapy & Workshops
  • 24-hour Emergency Services
  • Case management
  • Outreach & Prevention
  • Advocacy
  • Consultations
  • Training Programs