This is a test, this is only a test…

Back to school means, back to taking tests. Across the nation students of all ages are getting their number two pencils ready, as they approach the inevitable…taking tests. Employers are in on the act too, utilizing test scores as the ultimate measure for aptitude and adeptness. Some glide through taking tests without breaking a sweat, while others (like me) breakout into a sweat. Whether online, in a classroom, or a cubicle, the struggle with testing anxiety is real. Having one’s permanent school record or career prospect, dependent upon a test score is a dizzying, heart palpitating, nauseating, sweat inducing mess…literally.

Recently, I was reminded, that before I write my name on a green and white scantron sheet, on an instructor prepared test booklet, or click start on an online test, I must accept the following: This is a test, this is only a test…if this were an actual emergency, you would not be sitting here taking this test…insert irritating EAS tone now.

Don’t reduce yourself to a test score. We must be mindful in how we define and judge one’s capabilities, worth, and knowledge. It’s taken me a while to accept this, as testing seems to be the main method to measure a person. What looks good on paper does not always look good in person. The measure of a person isn’t in a score, but in the core of who they are.

In this day and age of shaming anyone who admits to having anxiety, I realize there will be ridicule to admitting that I suffer from testing anxiety. This is embarrassing, yet true. I’m not talking about getting a little nervous before a test, but rather being engulfed in distress and actually forgetting items I know. Sure, I’ve tried meditation, being extra prepared, visualization and breathing techniques, however, these strategies haven’t helped much.

As an adult who has completed school, tests aren’t part of my daily life, yet, on the rare occasion a test appears in my path, testing anxiety is still right there, resulting in nothing being right on a test. So, what’s a person to do? Remind yourself that worth is not measured by a test. Let test scores go. Let it go.

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