What Is Testophobia?

Test Taking(98448)Credit: wikimedia commons

     Testophobia is the irrational fear of taking tests. It's a very common phobia, especially among those still in school. However school is not the only place one may be tested. It doesn't matter what kind of test it is, its still a test.

     There is a very thin line between a dislike of taking tests and the fear of taking a test. Now for those who don't study, if its a test that one has to study for, that is not an irrational fear. It's not really the fear of the test itself, but its results. However for those whom have studied, despite studying they still fear taking the test. Not just the usual anxiety, but beyond it. Those with testophobia probably would have done well on their tests, at least had they studied, but wind up not doing so, because of their phobia. They might not even make it to class, because of their fear.

     Unfortunately this might be an overlooked problem, because a teacher is still going to give them the mark they earned. Not taking the test earns the test taker a 'zero'.

What Causes Testophobia?

     Testophobia, like any other phobia is caused by a significant external events are at the root cause. Although genetic predisposition may also be a cause of testophobia, or any other phobia one might have.

     However, an external event which may result in an individual becoming afflicted with testophobia can be easy to pinpoint. Grades ride on the results of a test and grades are important. Not only to the test taker, but their parents as well. They could be denied something if their test scores are not up to par. It can be even worse for kids with good grades, but their parents want more for them.

     Were there to have been a test where the grade was particularly low, the test taker might fear taking another test, for fear of the results. Thus they'd rather avoid taking the test altogether. They might not even have studied for it, though its possible they did. Yet when its crunch time they might decide to skip out, not even lift their pencil, doodle, or freeze up, unable to think. Which results in another disaster. Which can lead to their testophobia worsening. Especially if they're going to have to have a 'chat' with the teacher, or be griped, nagged, or yelled at by their parents or guardians.

     Keep in mind, they might not know what testophobia is and if they do, they probably don't want to say anything. Parents are suspicious and will think they're making it up. However if they're not, it might be time to see the school counselor or an outside mental health professional.

Who Is Afflicted by Testophobia?

Class TestCredit: wikimedia commons

     The people afflicted by testophobia, are usually children. That doesn't mean older people don't have testophobia. It can pop up at any time and doesn't have to be in connection with school. It could be a state exam for a job in nursing, or a civil service exam. It could also be a physical fitness exam, although one might want to think about whether its testophobia or iatrophobia. Iatrophobia being the fear of doctors. Although some people can have more than one phobia, especially children. Yet phobias from childhood sometimes without the help of anything else, seem to vanish. That, or the children grown to adults somehow came to tolerate and understand more about the necessity of doctors and tests.

What Are The Sings and Symptoms of Testophobia?

     One can tell if they have testophobia if they have the following symptoms when faced with taking a test, or even the idea of taking a test. These symptoms are of course typical of any other phobia, but its the trigger which is different.

     When one is faced with test taking, it indicates testophobia when they have the following symptoms.


    • Extreme anxiety

    • Dread

    • Shortness of breath

    • Rapid breathing

    • Irregular heartbeat

    • Sweating, or excessive sweating depending on the level of fear.

    • Nausea

    • Dry mouth

    • Inability to articulate words or sentences

    • Shaking


     It's a warning sign when ones heart begins to beat irregularly. Coupled with rapid breathing or shortness of breath, it could prove fatal. Although testophobia probably doesn't cause death by fright as someone whose afflicted by aichmophobia or coulrophobia might be. Aichmphobia being the fear of needles and coulrophobia being the fear of clowns.

Is There Help For People Who Suffer With Testophobia?

     There is indeed help for anyone who is suffering with Testophobia. Every phobia you may have ever heard of, is capable of being treated. That's where psychologists and mental health professionals come into play. Through them one can slowly accustom themselves to living with their phobia and getting over it. The only way to conquer ones fear, is to face it. Some have to face it in small and slower doses than others. Plus with the help of a mental health professional, cognitive behavioral therapy will prove to be an asset to ones treatment.

What Should I Do If A Family Member Has Testoophobia?

Adults taking testsCredit: wikimedia commons     Should you happen to have a family member with testophobia, or who claims to have it, don't judge. Take them at face value, but don't let them get out of taking a test. They may need more time than others to take a test, but that could be arranged. Possibly they'd have to stay after school or be placed in a different room during a study hall, but still be monitored by a teacher.

      One thing one should never do, is to yell or use an angry tone with the one who claims to have testophobia. It could make matters worse instead of better. It's time to plan out how to get them through testophobia so that they can take tests. That may be when a psychologist or mental health professional needs to be called in. Just because its common for kids to abhor tests, doesn't mean the phobia is any less problematic and possibly dangerous as the next.

      Listen and whether you believe your family member has testophobia or not, act as though they do. Which means starting them with cognitive behavioral therapy in order to be able to take their tests and do well in school and in life.