3 Ways UA Students Can Survive Test Anxiety
UA students are feeling the pain of wrapping up the fall semester. Events both amazing and difficult are part of the experience for students of all levels from freshmen to graduates.
You’ve given the semester your all, now you just want to get it over with. If you are coming back to join us in January, you want nothing more than to rest your brain and get ready to go again in about a month.
For most UA students, an onslaught of tests and final projects will hit you before you’re finished. You know it’s coming, and perhaps you feel the need to apply more deodorant on test days.
Do you go into your tests with all the confidence in the world just to blank out and forget all you know when you enter the arena? Do you have the habit of putting tests on a pedestal as if your very life depends on passing every one?
If you pen test days into your calendar in red or heavy lettering underlined 2 or 3 times, you should stop to consider why. Is it simply because you’re worried that you will forget?
We’re sure you’re familiar with test anxiety. It’s a common “ailment” among students who, just like you, care about your academic success. You are definitely not alone! According to a survey conducted by the American Test Anxiety Association, (yes, test anxiety is so prevalent there’s an association for it!), about one third of your peers will experience some level of this type of stress during their academic career. The Association found that approximately 20 percent of students have debilitating test anxiety and about another 18 percent have mild test anxiety.
The problem and its symptoms are more acute for some students than others, but your level of perspiration is not a measure of how much you want to succeed.
It’s a good idea to evaluate yourself for test anxiety and learn to cope with it for future success. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I worry excessively about failing tests?
- Can I sleep the night before a test day?
- Do I try to get out of taking tests?
- Do I perspire excessively before or during a test, have stomach issues, rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath?
- Do I have difficulty concentrating when taking tests?
- Do I fail to recall material when it’s time to take a test?
- Do timed tests particularly stress me out?
- Do I worry about finishing last or doing poorly compared to other students?
- Do I psyche myself out so much that I make foolish mistakes on test questions?
James Shepherd, author of the book, College Study Skills, cites that affirmative answers correlating to the above questions are indicative of test anxiety. The degree that you experience them can determine how severe the problem is for you.
So how can you cope with test anxiety?
Testing will be a fact of life, so it’s to your advantage to find coping mechanisms that are healthy to guide you through the adversity.
Journal about it
A session of expressive writing can let some of the pressure off. Physically writing instead of typing your worries onto paper has been proven to be effective in relieving stress before you sit down to test. For this exercise, pay no mind to grammar and punctuation. Just vent!
Relax, inhale, exhale
The surest way to clear your yammering mind is to get still, lie on your back, and relax your body parts in order from your toes to the top of your head. Breathe deeply until you’re relaxed and then focus on relaxing all your parts. Do this about an hour before you take your test.
Give yourself credit
Bring an achievement you are proud of to the front of your thoughts and dwell on it. Inspiring famous faces are effective to a point, but it’s better to rely on something you personally accomplished. Realize that you’ve achieved well before, and you will do it again.
If technology jams up during your final weeks of the semester, we will be happy to assist you. Contact us at http://support.arizona.edu/ for chat and remote desktop assistance 24/7.