Minimizing Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety

Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, when anxiety begins to affect exam performance it has become a problem.

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What Causes Test Anxiety

· Lack of preparation as indicated by:

· Cramming the night before the exam

· Poor time management

· Failure to organize text information

· Poor study habits

· Worrying about the following:

· Past performance on exams

· How friends and other students are doing

· The negative consequences of failure

Physical Signs of Test Anxiety

During an exam, as in any stressful situations, a student may experience any of the following bodily changes:

· Perspiration

· Sweaty palms

· Headache

· Upset stomach

· Rapid heart beat

· Tense muscles

Effects of Test Anxiety

· Nervousness:

· Having difficulty reading and understanding the questions on the exam paper

· Having difficulty organizing your thoughts

· Having difficulty retrieving key words and concepts when answering essay questions

· Doing poorly on an exam even though you know the material

· Mental Blocking:

· Going blank on questions

· Remembering the correct answers as soon as the exam is over

How to Reduce Test Anxiety

· Study and know the material well enough so that you can recall it even if you are under stress.

· Learn and practice good time management and avoid:

· Laziness

· Procrastination

· Day dreaming

· Build confidence by studying throughout the semester and avoid cramming the night before the exam.

· Learn to concentrate on the material you are studying by:

· Generating questions from your textbooks and lecture notes

· Focusing on key words, concepts and examples in your textbooks and lecture notes

· Making charts and outlines which organize the information in your notes and textbooks

· Using relaxation techniques, for example, taking long deep breaths to relax the body and reduce stress

The Immediate Environment

The environment in which you study can have a big effect on how efficient your study time is. Check your place of study for the following conditions:

· Noise

· Interruptions

· Lighting

· Temperature

· Neatness

· Comfort

· Equipment

Minimize Distracting Noise

Some people need some sound and some like silence. Find what works for you.

· Culprits are family and friends. Consider a “do not disturb sign” and turning on your answering machine. You can catch up with folks later.

· Better cool than warm.

· Have plenty of room to work; don’t be cramped. Your study time will go better if you take a few minutes at the start to straighten things up.

· A desk and straight-backed chair are usually best. Don’t get too comfortable—a bed is a place to sleep, not study.

· Have everything (book, pencils, paper, coffee, dictionary, typewriter, calculator, tape recorder, etc.) close at hand. Don’t spend your time jumping up and down to get things.



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