Math Test Anxiety

Causes Of Test Anxiety

This information was adapted from Winning at Math by Paul D. Nolting.

  1. Association of grades with self-worth.
  2. Develops from different types of fears.
  3. Can stem from feeling a lack of control and change in situation.
  4. Previous embarrassment from teacher, students, or family.
  5. Placed in wrong class.
  6. Past and continued negative experiences or attitudes.
  7. Consequences of perfectionism.
  8. Fear of timed tests.
  9. Poor study and personal habits.

Conquering Math Anxiety

  1. One of the best ways to combat math anxiety is to maintain a positive attitude toward math and your ability to do math. Pause and change what you are saying to yourself.
  2. It is important to learn how to manage not eliminate your anxiety. A little anxiety keeps you alert and can help you do your best. If you become overwhelmed, focus on one thing at a time.
  3. Find out in advance the length of the test and the time allotment.
  4. Panic often results when we are taking a test and cannot recall information that we thought we had mastered. To eliminate your chance of ever having a mental block, you need to “over” prepare and master every topic that might be on the test.
  5. Get or design practice tests and take them several times. Try to simulate the test taking conditions. Doing well on a practice exam fosters confidence for the exam.
  6. Think of this exam as a challenge, a time to show what you have mastered.
  7. Use the Ten Steps to Better Test Taking skills.
  8. Practice relaxation exercises along with positively visualizing the
    exam going well for you.
    • Deep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    • Relax all your muscles. Tense your muscles and hold for a few seconds. Relax. Repeat one more time if necessary.
    • Chewing gum (if allowed) during the test can help relieve anxiety.

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Adrienne Palmer

Math Learning Center Coordinator