Anxiety is something that nearly every test-taker experiences. As we’ve said before, it’s natural to feel a little anxious when facing a big exam; that nervous energy can even give you an edge it it's managed properly. But too much anxiety can have dire consequences. Numerous studies have documented the effects of anxiety and the impact these symptoms can have on test performance.
So, how do you avoid falling victim to test anxiety? The answer lies both in preventing anxiety from occurring and in reacting positively when it does occur.
To prevent anxiety, you have to understand its causes. There are many sources of test anxiety. A major source is the feeling of lack of control, whether it’s control over what’s actually on the test or control over the circumstances of the test, such as time limitations and/or distractions. Worries over what you can’t control can cloud your thinking, causing even the most prepared student to fail a test. How do you prevent this from happening? Focus on what you can control, and control it well.
First, go through all the test questions and answer those you know. Don’t worry about answering the others yet; leave them for your second pass. This will increase your comfort level in two important ways. First, you’ll gain a sense of confidence about how much you do know. Second, you’ll no longer have to wonder about the rest of the exam; there’s no more “unknown” to be afraid of. In other words, the simple act of finding out what you’re up against can do a lot to reduce your anxiety. Even though you can’t control what questions are on the test or the amount of time allotted, you can still gain a sense of control simply by knowing what questions will be asked.
Next, be prepared in case anxiety does creep in and mess up your concentration. It’s important to realize that serious test anxiety is a learned behavior, resulting from negative predictions. If you have prepared adequately for the test, you should pass it; fears of failing come from unfounded negativity. If you find yourself thinking “I’m not doing well here, and I might fail this test,” try replacing that negative thought with positive self-talk. Say, “I prepared for this test, I know these answers, and I have what it takes to pass this test.” You may want to supplement this with some simple stress-relieving exercises. For instance, try a simple 3-breath exercise.
Remember, Rockwell Institute is here to answer all your questions about the real estate exam.