Test anxiety refers to a marked or intense fear related to taking an exam. It can include anticipatory elements, such as worry, dread and catastrophizing well in advance of the exam, as well dysfunction during the exam. Physical symptoms could include tension, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and rapid, shallow breathing.
Test anxiety is part of social anxiety, in which an individual fears being judged and negatively evaluated.
High anxiety in an exam situation could negatively affect concentration, attention, memory, organizational ability, comprehension, and recall. While most people experience some anxiety in a testing situation, people with test anxiety experience a higher degree of anxiety and their condition may require the help of a psychologist.