How to overcome test anxiety for IGCSE and IB students

Many IGCSE and IB students suffer from test anxiety. How can you manage your test anxiety so you can succeed in your classes and stay calm and relaxed?

The number one strategy for dealing with test anxiety is to ask for help! Whether it’s your teacher, a tutor, your classmates and friends, or even your parents, there’s nothing wrong with needing help and you should never be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.

Just talking about your fears and anxieties can be a first step to managing them. By working through concepts in office hours, with an IGCSE or IB tutor, or with friends or family, you can identify gaps in your understanding and look at problems from new angles. Learning is easier and more fun with company, so setting up a study group or using body doubling for accountability to help you get through your study material can be a powerful strategy. Speaking candidly about grades and exams with peers can help alleviate anxiety and reassure you that you’re on the right track, but remember– your work needs to be your own! Be careful when working on group projects and at-home assignments.

In terms of managing your study materials, you need to be organized and realistic. No one can master everything by cramming the night before the exam; it’s simply not possible. So don’t set yourself up for failure by leaving things to the last minute. Divide the material you need to cover into a sensible schedule for the time you have remaining before your assessment. Be reasonable in the goals you set for yourself so you don’t feel like you are constantly falling short. Remember, you need to demonstrate cumulative knowledge on your exams, so it’s important to master and review material continuously throughout the year. You won’t be able to catch up at the last minute. Manage your time so that you don’t overload yourself and you allow plenty of time to review challenging topics and complete practice exams. Familiarize yourself with the syllabus and exam format so that there are no surprises. Finally, maintain balance! Studying can’t be your whole existence: you still need to socialize, eat, and go outside and enjoy nature to maintain a healthy outlook. A clear and refreshed mind will serve you well on test day.