Since starting nursing school, I have developed horrible test anxiety. The only time I had it prior to nursing courses was when I took anatomy and physiology. The thing is that I now get it afterwards too. I also get it when I chart in the computer system at clinical. "Did I forget this?" We use the bubble tests and that gives me thoughts like, "Did I put it in the right box? Did I remember to go back and fill in the right circle?" And so on. It's gotten so bad that I don't know if I can continue school without solving it. I can't go on 2.5 more semesters like this. I'm losing my mind. I've started exercising again to help with stress. I also bring a ruler during tests. It's taking up a lot of energy. I also get nervous when my clinical instructor asks me questions. My sentences get choppy and my palms begin to sweat. :/

I used to have anxiety when I drove a car and then when I rode in a car. I still get anxious when I ride in a car. I've gone to therapy. I'm thinking I may call the doctor's office tomorrow to get medication. I just don't want it to become something I am dependent upon. Has anyone else dealt with this level of anxiety in school?

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

My anxiety was solely in tests when I tried AD nursing school at the age of 19. After recovering from not succeeding, and deciding to go for my Bachelors, I went to PN school to replace the failing grade. My program was very receptive to assisting with test taking skills and helping with test anxiety; so was my BSN program.

I have PTSD as well, along with a history of mood (bipolar) trait. I underwent therapy throughout nursing school, solely for my PTSD in the second year of my nursing courses, because I saw it affecting my grades. I have been seeing my therapist for two years now, and it has been beneficial for my "traits."

Your post describes anxiety beyond testing. I suggest you reach out to your instructors and especially your doctor to see if you can arrange seeing a counselor or therapist to assist in strategies in your struggles. Good luck!!!


70 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

I take meds for it :( I work as a CNA and am fine and don't have anxiety when I'm in routine... But nursing school has my anxiety through the roof! Even just sitting in class! The meds make it much better.


81 Posts

I don't really know what I can say to help you, but I'll share some embarrassing stuff about me so you know you're not alone! :up: I have never had to take medications but I've contemplated it. I get extreme test anxiety too. I'll be calm for weeks before a test and then freak out the night before. I'm so bad that even some of my friends avoid me on test day because I ooze anxiety and make theirs worse.

It's better now, but in second semester when I started doing more complicated skills, I would start to get very nervous and sweat. It was SOOOOO embarrassing. The first time I put in an NG tube, I started sweating and turned ghost white. I looked so bad that afterwards the patient asked ME if I was okay and my instructor told me to go sit down for a while! Other students always think I know everything because I can speak very well with them. But sometimes when I'm asked a question by an instructor or RN, I freeze and ramble like an idiot.

My skills have greatly improved and I don't freak out anymore even though I'm still a little nervous about messing up. The test anxiety never goes away, for me at least. I just try to prepare as much as I can and take it one day at a time. I wish I had some quick solution for you but I don't think there is one.


53 Posts

Thank you for your responses. I'm calling my doctor today. I used to go to therapy regularly due to a lot of different things and was diagnosed w/ generalized anxiety. Now my therapist is 20 minutes from my house and school/ clinical is 20-25 minutes in the opposite direction. My only weekday off is Tuesday and I usually am trying to get homework, housework, and being a mom to a 12 year old girl when I am home. I have a lot of stressors aside from school and I need to talk to someone but when will I find the time? :/ I used to walk 3-7 miles a day to cope with my stress. It helped bring my cortisol levels down and released all those good hormones. But no time for that now (and too much snow outside!) :/ I am doing 2-3 miles a day with a workout video now.


230 Posts

I have anxiety disorder. During nursing school id have panic attacks during tests and even lecture! I never once took meds. Here is what I did to conquer the anxiety (panic attack free for 9months now!) If I drink caffeine it is beverage a day between the hours of 10am n 4pm, sleep at least 8hrs most nights (a night here and there of 6hrs is no problem but not consistently), and avoid sugar as much as possible (i cant have aspartame either). The caffeine and sleeping tend to be the biggest factors. If im having a panic attack I use breathing and guided imagery to bring myself down. I did not want to go on meds cuz im hypersensitive to meds.


22 Posts

I also have suffered with anxiety. I take zoloft for it but when I start nursing school and am not just taking my prereqs I expect it to get worse. I tend to get horrible stomach aches before tests or any sort of stressful situation. I am thinking I may need to up my dose to get through school and then go back to what I'm on once I'm back into a routine. I just think of the prize. I take time for myself or a hobby. I always take sundays off for what I want to do. If I have a test Monday I give myself one hour to review before bed Sunday but that is it. Other studying I will do before Sunday so I can ensure a day for me. This will also help with stress. I also plan on an exercise plan, probably in the morning to get my brain going and confidence built. Take deep breaths, tell yourself you can do it! Because you can and will!

I found that reading forums and books about nursing school really help, you are not alone! (:


53 Posts

I just wanted to update and thank you all for your responses. I saw my doctor today and she doesn't want to put me on any anxiety medication. She tends to not prescribe meds for psychiatric issues so I'm going to try therapy closer to my home! I think it's just going to end up w/ me trying to find a balance between school and the many life issues I have going on. I do have a plethora of issues w/ my parents right now (divorcing after 38 years together and putting me in the middle) SO that really ups my emotional stressors. Thanks again :) I love this forum!