The extreme but irrational fear of tests and exams is called testophobia. It’s a specific phobia regarding the negative experience of being evaluated. Testophobia usually starts during the teens and early stages of adulthood, although it can manifest from earlier childhood.
This phobia produces a persistant but irrational fear in students both before and during an exam. It generates great stress and anxiety in those who suffer it, causing extreme difficulty for taking tests.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than doin all the hard work, all the studying and all the revision to then walk into an exam only for your mind to go blank. Panic sets in which only makes the matter worse! There’s actually a psychological term for this – it’s called state-dependant memory. In other words your state results in what you can remember so, if you’re in a very different state to when you were learning you’ll find it hard to recall this data.
Factors like genetics and environment often play an important role in the development of testophobia. For example, being afraid of tests and exams may have its roots in a family history of mental illness. Also, high expectations from a person’s circle of friends and family may generate persistent anxiety before performing a test.
Nevertheless, the root of testophobia can be encompassed in biological and mental causes, as well as the growing disappointment of constantly having bad results.
Obtaining poor testing outcomes frequently can add up toward the future. After several bad results in tests, whether it’s for anxiety or not studying well enough, people can develop a negative attitude and higher levels of anxiety for upcoming tests and exams.
When our body is about to face stressful situation releases a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline can make us alert and deal with the situation, or instead make us run away from the “danger”. Some people are unable to cope with the adrenaline rush and anxiety. This situation translates into the appearance of physical symptoms and, therefore, a poor performance on the test.
Our mentality directly influences our outcome on a test. That means if we believe we won’t perform well on an exam, we will likely become anxious and indeed perform poorly.
Furthermore, testophobia can become stronger after a series of bad results in tests. It happens because students become more and more fearful every time, making extremely difficult to cope with anxiety. Patients with testophobia can get to point of thinking they have no power to reverse their fear.
Testophobia might produce from just a couple of symptoms to a myriad of them. All of these symptoms hinder the performance of students during tests, causing feelings of worthlessness and undermining their confidence.
The most common symptoms in people with testophobia are intense stress and anxiety, as well as avoiding taking even the easiest of tests. The symptoms fall into three categories: physical, cognitive, and emotional.
These can include sweating, rapid heartbeat, shaking, nausea, dry mouth, and fainting. More severe cases can even cause students physical illness.
Testophobia typically causes fidgeting and even the complete avoidance of a testing situation. The fear causes some people to blank out to the questions, even though they studied the information thoroughly. Besides, testophobia commonly causes trouble concentrating on the exam and negative self-talk.
Some students with severe anxiety for tests and exams can get to the point of dropping out of school. The fear grows so strong within them that they opt for eliminating the source of their fear.
Being afraid of tests often comes along with low self-esteem, anger, depression, and feeling hopeless. Additionally, due to the poor performance on the test, people with testophobia to berate and belittle themselves.
You weren’t born with particular fears or anxiety – instead you have developed them along your life journey so far. In very simple terms Hypnotherapy works by re-setting the mind to produce the rational response to a specific situation or environment that you had before the phobia was initially triggered off. Find Out More >
Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP combines neurology and linguistics and creates a sort of programming that helps people change their thinking habits, help them deal with anxiety, stress, depression and overcome particular fears. In short, this means taking a specific fear or phobia and disassociating and reframing the experience to prevent the irrational response. Find Out More >
In simple terms Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT as it’s more commonly referrred to, is a talking therapy which takes your specific issue, fear or specific phobia and focusses on your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and how they affect your behaviour and emotions in respect of this issue. It takes on the notion that your thoughts (cognition) creates emotions which, in turn, controls our reactions (behaviour). Find Out More >
If the thought of tests and exams fills you with fear and terror then take a look at one of our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are all guaranteed, proven and effective.