Test (Result) Anxiety

Test anxiety is very real. We each experience it to one extent or another. Thankfully, I typically only have a minor case during the test itself.
But what gets me is the waiting. No matter how well I think I’ve done when I hand in that paper there is doubt that nags at me. What if I skipped a page? What if I got critical concepts backwards in my brain? Were my answers clear? The list of questions bouncing around my brain can be longer than the test itself.
A few weeks ago I had a test on a Friday. I didn’t feel super great about it but since the weekends are uber busy for me, since I work retail, I didn’t have much time to worry about it. I arrived in class on Monday with a stomach of butterflies. It was the first test in this class so there was an extra level of uncertainty. When the professor entered the room without a conspicuous piles of papers I began to worry. When he/she announced that the exams wouldn’t be returned until next week the butterflies became carnivorous. There was no school the next Monday so this news meant it would be at least nine days until I discovered the results. Nine days felt like an eternity to wait! In the mean time should I keep studying as I had been? Do I need to tweak my routine a little or did it need a major overhaul? How could I know until I knew the results of the test?!?
Fast forward to the next Wednesday. This time Professor had a big pile of papers in tow. He/she began class lecture as usual. Couldn’t we catch a break and get the results at the beginning of class? No, of course not. The butterflies had chewed through my stomach lining at this point and were making their way to my other organs. Finally, with just ten minutes left in class, it was announced we would get our tests back. I began to relax slightly. The answer to my burning question was coming. When professor was about to pass the papers back he/she stopped and said there was an answer key to be passed back along with the test and he/she had left it in the copier. Rather than let us look at the tests while the papers were retrieved, he/she left the room then to go get them. My butterflies when nuclear! I was tempted to start digging through the papers on the desk to find mine but social decorum prevented me.
The professor returned in what probably felt like a jiffy to everyone but me and passed back the tests and answer keys. My insides returned to normal. I received a better grade than I anticipated. All was right with the world.
But only until the next post-test waiting period.

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