Test anxiety is when your anxiety prevents you from showing the professor what you have learned and know. It is not the same as being anxious during a test because you are unprepared or do not understand the material. Although both the test anxious and the unprepared student will be anxious in the test situation, the causes, and therefore the solutions, differ.
Unpreparedness anxiety is best addressed by better preparation, e.g., improved study habits and time management, tutoring, appropriate course selection, etc. Bona fide test anxiety, on the other hand, can be lessened by behavioral relaxation techniques and cognitive strategies (i.e., changing self-defeating thought patterns), as well as by improved study, time management and test-taking skills.
A number of resources are available to help you cope with test anxiety. Some examples include the following:
Is it possible to overcome test anxiety?, Mayo Clinic
A little nervousness before a test is normal and can help sharpen your mind and focus your attention. But with test anxiety, feelings of worry and self-doubt can interfere with your test-taking performance and make you miserable. Test anxiety can affect anyone, whether you're a primary or secondary school student, a college student, or an employee who has to take tests for career advancement or certification.
Test Anxiety, Academic Skills Center, Study Skills Library, Cal Poly
What is test anxiety, how does it affect you, and what can you do about it?
Dealing with Test Anxiety, Center for Academic Success, The University of Alabama
A collection of psychologist' recommended techniques that have proven to be extremely successful if practiced and used correctly.
How Can You Reduce Test Anxiety?, Counseling Services, Kansas State University
Tips to reduce anxiety both prior to and during tests.