Since the beginning of this school year I've had a lot of trouble with test taking. I get very nervous, my hands shake, my heart beats fast and all I can't concentrate on anything except the clock ticking. No matter how hard I study I still seem to forget it all when it comes time to take the test, but after the test I realize my mistakes and obsess over them. I've always had a problem with worrying too much, but I think it might be progressing into an anxiety disorder. Could I be right and what should I do about it?
If this is specific to test taking situations, and you are not having problems with these physical symptoms in other situations, then this is more of a performance anxiety or test taking phobia. It can be managed through several steps: first is to get test taking help through a workshop offered by the Counseling Center and Academic Advising. The best prevention is good preparation and planning for the test itself and there are some specific techniques you can learn that will help. There is beta blocker medication offered by the Student Health Center that is helpful to block your body's reaction to adrenalin--it relaxes the blood vessels and autonomic nervous system so you have less tremor, slower heart rate and fewer "stomach butterflies" without sedating you. Lastly, if you still are unable to cope in a test taking situation, there is the option of seeking a mental health evaluation for formal diagnosis of phobia which can lead to extended testing time and a quiet testing room through Disability Student Services as a formal ADA accomodation.