Test Anxiety Beating the Exam Jitters By: Lori A. Koehler
What is Test Anxiety? Test Anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced before, during, or after an examination. Most often caused by concern, worry or fear.
Dealing Effectively • Get Prepared • Attend Classes • Avoid Cramming • Plan a Study Schedule • Avoid Wasted Time • Optimize Concentration • Study Groups
Being Prepared . . . • Getting prepared for the exam is more than half the battle. Go to class, find out what is expected, and know when exams are scheduled. • Avoid cramming • Have a study schedule that makes use of wasted time.
Meditation • “Latest science says. . Studies show that meditation is boosting immune systems, but brain scans suggest that it may be rewiring their brains to reduce stress.”
Do . . . • Visualize yourself doing well and reaching your goal. • Aim for “A” level understanding. Don’t overprotect yourself by saying you’ll be lucky to get a “C”.
Do. . . • Become an expert in learning what is going well and what you can do to improve.
Do. . . • Practice Relaxing • Aim for a state of relaxed concentration • When you concentrate, you have all your energy focused on your work and none on your worry.
Do. . . • Take care of yourself • Eat well (avoid caffeine – it increases anxiety) • Get Enough Rest • Exercise regularly Taking care of you will help take care of your stress and anxiety.
Avoid. . . • Self Talk – don’t allow your own sub-conscious to put you down • “I always mess up on tests.” • “If I don’t do well on this exam I’ll fail the course.”
Don’t. . . • Compare yourself to others. • Don’t hold your breath.
Test Taking Strategies • Take a practice test the day before. • Review your summary sheets. Recite your own words. • Get enough sleep. • Stop making critical statements. • Be on time for the exam
Relax. . . • Let your body relax, put your arms at your side, close your eyes, allow your mind to go blank. • Tense and release your muscles, concentrate on making them relax
During the Test. . . • Look over the entire test, Read the Directions, plan your approach, and schedule your time. • Start with the easiest question first. • Focus on the test, not others.
Duh. . . • If you get stumped on a question, move on to another question, this will get your brain working and maybe in answering the next question the answer will come to you.
Help, I’m Anxious! • If you start to feel anxious practice your relaxation techniques. Use anxiety as your cue to relax. • Close your eyes • Take 3 Deep Breaths • Consciously relax each and every muscle. • Get back to the Task
Anxiety before the Test • If you rely solely on memorization, your confidence will be low and you may be easily panicked during the test. • Sooo, emphasize understanding • Prepare • Talk, Rehearse the answers
Like the Wise Old Owl - Be Prepared Remember studying begins when you receive the notes, not when you receive the test plan.
Smile, you’ve done it. • Reward yourself for having tried. Don’t go over the test questions with others. No matter how the test went, you can learn from the returned exam.
How Do You Prepare for A Test? How Do You Deal With the Anxiety of Test Taking?
References • Test Anxiety - Probert, Barbara, PhD., University of Florida Counseling Center, July 18, 2003. • Relaxation Techniques - St. Mary’s Medical Center, 2002. • Time – The Science of Meditation – Just Say Om – Joel Stein – August 4, 2003. • Spielberger, Charles D. -- Test Anxiety: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (The Series in Clinical and Community Psychology) -- Hemisphere Pub; (July 1995)