Test Anxiety Presented by Lisa Korte Colorado State University
Anxiety is a natural response to threatening situation • Form of the “fight-or-flight” response in body • HR rises, BP rises, and Breathing rate rises • With tests, primary “threat” is possibility of failure and/or loss of esteem Anxiety in General
High levels of anxiety can interfere with ability to perform task at hand (i.e.: tests) • Stressful emotions inhibit students’ ability to absorb, retain, and recall information • Anxiety creates a kind of “noise” or “mental static” in brain that blocks ability to retrieve what is stored in memory Anxiety Cont.
Most often defined as a situation-specific trait with emotionality and worry as major components. • In the DSM-IV, test anxiety is considered a specific phobia; a situational type anxiety. • Research shows approximately 20% of U.S. college students experience some symptoms of test anxiety • More common in females than males What is Test Anxiety?
Physical – headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and/or dry mouth. • Emotional – excessive feelings of fear, disappointment, anger, depression, uncontrollable crying, or helplessness. • Behavioral – fidgeting, pacing, substance abuse, avoidance. • Cognitive – racing thoughts, “going blank,” difficulty concentrating, negative self-talk, feelings of dread. Common Symptoms
Lack of Preparation • Poor Test History • Fear of Failure • Poor Time Management, Study Habits, Lack of Organization Causes
Anticipatory – felt when thinking about taking test • Situational – felt when taking test 2 Types of Test Anxiety
Positive thinking • Relaxation • Preparedness • Resignation • Concentration 5 Most Common Techniques for Reducing Anxiety
Students with test anxiety are more likely to drink to reduce tension • Males report tension reduction as more important reason to drink than women Connection to Alcohol Use
Have a hard time studying for an exam • Finding things easily distract you when studying for an exam • Expectation of failure no matter how much you study • During test experience sweaty palms, an upset stomach, a headache, difficulty breathing, and/or muscle tension • During test you experience difficulty understanding questions and directions Recognizing Test Anxiety
Thoughts are unorganized during the test • During the test you “draw a blank” • During the test you find that your thoughts wander • Usually score lower on tests than assignments and papers • After the test you can recall information that you couldn’t during the test Recognizing Test Anxiety Cont.
Use good study techniques and build confidence • Maintain a positive attitude while you study • Be well rested and fed (no junk food!) • Practice good time management when studying • Get organized • Take a step by step approach to studying • Get help for material you are unsure of Before The Test
Minimize noise levels • Use “do not disturb” sign • Make sure room is well lit • Cool temperature better than warm • Use a desk and a chair with high back • Have everything you need handy Best Environment to Study
Be prepared • Develop good test-taking skills • Maintain a positive attitude; positive self-talk • Address “what if” questions Tips for Reducing Test Anxiety
Stay focused • Practice relaxation techniques • Stay healthy • Seek additional help (counseling center) Tips Cont.
Read all directions carefully • Budget your test taking time • Change position to help you relax • If you go blank, skip the question and go to the next During The Test
Don’t panic when students turn in test before you • Take slow deep breaths • Use positive statements (“I can do this”) • Eat a small snack to take your mind off the anxiety During the Test Cont.
Questions • Ideas • Discussion Discussion