Test Anxiety Is Not About Tests—Part 3

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Test Anxiety Part 3Getting rid of test anxiety isn’t easy, but it can be done. In my first post this week, I pointed out that if you suffer from test anxiety, the problem isn’t the tests—it’s YOU and how you relate to taking tests. 

Then, in my second post, I noted that test anxiety can be broken down into three separate phases or parts:

1.  Pre-Test Anxiety

2.  Anxiety During The Test

3.  Post-Test Anxiety 

I went on to highlight a few of the external causes of anxiety in each of these three separate phases.   

Today, I want to focus on a key internal cause of test anxiety.  I recently published a self-help PDF guide on how to end test anxiety that covers ten major internal causes.  I’m only going to briefly touch on one of these ten causes today. But if you want to learn about all ten of them, just click on the link below to find out how you can do this: 


Why Do Some People Have More Test Anxiety Than Others? 

If you want to know why some people have horrible test anxiety problems while others have almost none, you need to delve into the internal causes of human anxiety in general. 

Internal causes consist of habitual thought patterns and/or behavior patterns which occur within us and that create our feelings of anxiety.  You can have the hardest, most complicated, most critically important test in the world staring you in the face…and you won’t become anxious about it unless you are thinking or behaving in fear-producing ways. 

When it comes to fear/anxiety in human beings, here are the three main thought patterns that MUST be going on within us whenever we are feeling afraid: 

Fear-Producing Thoughts

1.  Something bad might happen.

2.  Someone or something (including myself) might be hurt or harmed.

3.  I don’t have the power (control) to keep #1 and #2 from happening. 

This is the internal “program” that runs inside us whenever we are anxious or afraid.  Now, what is consistent about each of these three primary causes? 

You Can’t Be Anxious Without Thinking Negatively! 

The one consistent feature that unites all three primary internal causes of anxiety is negative thinking.  If you want to know why some people have more test anxiety than others, the answer is simple—they have many more negative thoughts. 

In other words, there’s no way you are going to cure yourself of test anxiety unless you recognize and then learn how to overcome your deeper problem of negative thinking. 

People who regularly suffer from test anxiety also suffer from extreme negative thinking.  The more severe the anxiety problem is…the stronger and more convincing the negative thoughts are going to be. 

What Negative Thoughts Do Test Anxiety Sufferers Typically Have? 

First, test anxiety sufferers don’t just have negative thoughts about taking tests.  They have negative thoughts about every important area of their lives. 

With respect to the three phases of test anxiety, such individuals are very prone to repeated negative thoughts, such as: 

  •  “I’m not going to do well on this test”
  •  “I never do well on standard tests”
  • “I’m not a very good student”
  • “I’m not as smart as most others in my class”
  • “If I get a bad grade on this test, I won’t be able to recover”
  • “If I get a bad grade in this course, my future may be ruined”
  • “Why am I such a mess when it comes to taking tests and other aren’t?”
  • “There’s nothing I can do to get a handle on my anxiety” 

So, if you are going to successfully free yourself from test anxiety, you are first going to have to do battle with this one very important (and often neglected) internal cause. 

Once again, if you want to learn more about this and nine other major internal causes of test anxiety, just click on the link below to find out how: 


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