Test Anxiety Sound Like You? You’ve participated in class, done all of your homework, studied hard, and you think you have a grip on the material. BUT - then the day of the test comes. Suddenly, you blank out, freeze up, zone out, or feel so nervous that you can’t get it together to respond to those questions you knew the answers to just last night.
Test Anxiety Technical Definition A psychological condition in which a person experiences distress before, during, or after an exam or other assessment to such an extent that this anxiety causes poor performance or interferes with normal learning.
Test Anxiety What Is It? A type of performance anxiety - a feeling someone might have in a situation where performance really counts or when the pressure is on to do well IT IS NOT THE SAME AS: doing poorly on a test because your mind was on something else
Test Anxiety Symptoms Physical: 1. headaches, 2. nausea and/or diarrhea, 3. extreme body temperature changes, 4. excessive sweating, 5. shortness or breath, 6. light-headedness or fainting, 7. rapid heart beat, 8. dry mouth
Test Anxiety Symptoms Emotional: 1. excessive feelings of fear, 2. disappointment, 3. anger, 4. depression, 5. uncontrollable crying or laughing, 6. feelings of helplessness
Test Anxiety Symptoms Behavioral: 1. fidgeting, 2. pacing, 3. substance abuse, 4. avoidance
Test Anxiety Symptoms Cognitive: 1. racing thoughts, 2. 'going blank', 3. difficulty concentrating, 4. negative self-talk, 5. feelings of dread, 6. comparing yourself to others, 7. difficulty organizing your thoughts.
Test Anxiety What Causes It? • All anxiety is a reaction to anticipating something stressful - stated in other words, distress caused by fear • When you’re under stress, your body releases the hormone adrenaline - which prepares the body for danger • “Fight or Flight” • This is what causes the physical symptoms • Focusing on the bad things that could happen • “What if I forget everything? • “What if I throw up?” • Inevitably creates a vicious circle
Test Anxiety Who’s Likely To Have It? • People who worry a lot • Perfectionists • Both worriers and perfectionists possess traits that make it difficult to accept mistakes they might make OR to get anything less than a perfect score • People who aren’t prepared but still care about doing well
Test Anxiety What Can You Do? • Use a little stress to your advantage • Ask for help • BE PREPARED • Spread out studying over a few days or weeks • Try to maintain a positive attitude • Exercising may help reduce stress • Get a good night’s sleep • Show up to class early so you won’t worry about additional, preventable things like being late • Concentrate on own test, not how fast others are going
Test Anxiety What Can You Do? • Stay relaxed - take breaks during test if needed • Read all directions slowly and carefully • If you don’t understand something, ask the teacher • Do a quick skim through the test so you get an idea of how to pace yourself • Write down important formulas, definitions, keywords, etc. in the margin first so you won’t worry about forgetting them • Do simple questions first - build confidence • Focus on question at hand, don’t mind wander
The End Questions?