How to Handle Test Anxiety in the Middle of Your Firefighter Promotional Exam

Test anxiety can hit even the most confident student in the middle of an exam. If you are up for firefighter promotion and are worried about test anxiety use these tips to help you make it through your firefighter promotional exam without anxiety getting the best of you. 

What is Test Anxiety?

Test anxiety is defined as, “a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations.” The main criteria for it to be test anxiety, is if the anxiety is so bad it interferes with your performance on the exam. 

How To Overcome Test Anxiety

  1. Know Your Stuff

The most powerful way to beat test anxiety is to come to the test prepared. Study and know your stuff before you get to the exam this way even if you start to feel the anxiety get the best of you you will still do okay on the exam. Knowing the answers as you go through the exam will also continually boost your confidence. Reading that first question and knowing the answer should give you some relief and more confidence to keep going. If you don’t know an answer don’t dwell on it, move on and come back to it so you can answer the questions you do know. The more prepared you are the easier the whole exam process will be and the less anxiety you should have. 

  1. Focus On Yourself

Anxiety can be caused by many things, but being in a room full of people when you are starting to feel anxious can make it so much worse. If you start to feel overcome with anxiety in the middle of your test just focus on yourself. Yes, there are other people in the room but not one of them cares about you or what you are doing. No one can tell you are anxious, no one is looking at you, they are focusing on themselves, and you should too. 

  1. Pause

If you are in the middle of your exam and are feeling overwhelmed, just pause for a moment. Allow yourself a moment to just take a breath and say something positive to yourself. If you studied and put in the time, then you can pass this test, so just remind yourself of that. It is just a test. Yes the exam is important but it is not everything. It is okay if you pass, it is okay if you fail, but don’t fail because you are too nervous to get it done. Take a moment and breathe. Remember why you are doing this and remind yourself that you know your stuff, then keep going, you've got a test to pass. 

P.S. Prepare Beforehand

The key to getting through your firefighter promotional exam if you have testing anxiety is to be prepared. You know yourself enough to know whether it is going to happen so be proactive to help minimize it. Figure out what methods work to help ease the anxiety before you sit down to take the exam. Don’t be afraid to see a therapist or get some professional help if it is debilitating, not only will this help you on your firefighter promotional exam but in other aspects of your life as well. I imagine if you are taking one firefighter promotional exam you will likely be taking more in the future to move up the ranks so get the help you need now so that this is not an issue when you take each subsequent promotional exam. 

The Takeaway

Testing anxiety is real and it can be debilitating. If you know you have testing anxiety try to prepare for it before you even sit down for your exam. If it still manages to creep up on you when you sit down to take your firefighter promotional exam, utilize these tips to help you overcome it and ace your exam.