How to deal with test anxiety

eiei asks: I am sure to fail chemistry in 1st Semester. I studied well but I can’t answer well. And the teacher will scold me and students will tease me. I know I must try in 2nd semester very much and I can pass 1st year and attend 2nd year. But I can’t face this moment. Results will be out soon, I’m sure I’m the only female with this problem, and everyone will notice who failed. I can’t sleep and eat from thinking about it. I know it’s crazy, but I’m feeling like I wish I were dead!

Hi eiei –



I really have two answers for you.  But the second is only if you actually do fail the test.  Can you promise me that, if you’re right and you fail (or even do really poorly), you’ll write me and let me know?  That way I can send you a letter about what to do in that situation.


But I’m not going to send you that letter yet.  And the reason is simple – I want you to STOP THINKING ABOUT FAILING!  Is it possible that the teacher grades “on the curve,” and your ending grade will be a bit higher than your scores so far would imply?  Is it possible that you’ll get points for effort, or that there are quizzes and things you haven’t taken into account?  Is it possible that…  well, that just about anything could happen?  Sure!


There are those who believe that what we visualize comes true in our lives.  That if, for example, a person visualizes that they’ll be rich in the future, they’re more likely to become rich.  It’s called the Secret of Attraction.  Now I don’t know if there’s really any magical power to visualizing, but I absolutely know that you hurt your own mood, mental clarity, and performance, by dwelling on negative possibilities.


Do you realize that, if you actually pass Chemistry, there’s a part of your brain that will be disappointed, because it will be proven wrong?!  That part has spent so much time in these last months, visualizing how it’s going to be when you fail – Imagine what your life would have been like if all that mental energy and concentration on failing had instead been spent on learning formulas, reactions, and the periodic table!


So the first thing for you to do is to put that brain of yours to better use!  You say that even if you fail, you’ll be able to go into the next semester’s class.  Well then great!  Maybe you could start studying up now on all that stuff you didn’t learn, so that when you get your first quiz in the next class, you ace it.  Or, if that’s too far away, maybe you could put that energy into reading some books about positive thinking, or even putting all your sadness and fears into something you create, like art or a poem or a song.  Any of these will actually make your brain work better so that this next semester will be easier for you.


Or you could do something really great, which would be go to out with your friends, and talk with them about how tough this semester was, and find out who found Chemistry to be a breeze, and maybe work something out for next semester where you can help that person with some other class, while they help you understand molecular structure!


And if you’re wrong, and you pass the class, then you’ll have just set up something to make next semester way better.


And if you’re right?  Well, write me, and we’ll talk about what to do then.  But that’s for later.  For now, think POSITIVE!!!





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