Tag Archives: test anxiety

“Making it wane” sounds like a really immature way to describe a really immature act, but if you can get past that, you’ve got the only proper way to deal with stress. Obviously, when engaged in a high pressure task like standardized testing, we don’t want to allow stress to escalate, triggering a cascade of failure. We should also strive for more than the status quo when our status screams “Freaking out!” The way to win is to reduce your response to stress in the moment until you’ve achieved the optimal level of performance. The trick, then, is mastering an arsenal of stress-management strategies. One effective method is to rate your anxiety, then see if you can get that number lower: Anxiety is not an all–or–nothing condition; it exists on a continuum. When you’re feeling anxious, rate your anxiety on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being completely…

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Since test anxiety occurs at both a biological and cognitive level, developing ways to manage both levels of symptoms is the best path to effectively managing test anxiety. The good news is that biological and cognitive processes tend to work together, so any effort put towards managing one set of symptoms will have a positive effect on both. Practice these techniques before going into an exam (and even during an exam if need be), and with time, you will begin to tame the beast and regain control over your academic performance.   Managing Physical Symptoms Breathe Simply focusing on your breathing can decrease stress. An effective technique called diaphragmatic breathing can instantly lower your anxiety level. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, then breathe out of your mouth for 4 seconds. Repeat 5 times and see if you notice a change in your…

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Test anxiety is not a mental illness nor are people born with this affliction. Instead, test anxiety is a learned behavior. The goods news is that people can unlearn this debilitating response to test-taking. Research identifies two forms of test anxiety: somatic (what happens biologically) and cognitive (what happens mentally). Most people experience both simultaneously, creating a perfect storm of nerves and panic. Thoughts feed stress hormones which cause these hormones to surge through the body and vice versa. While some students may be genetically predisposed to higher arousal levels which induce anxiety, others are fueling this biochemical mind-storm with their thoughts alone. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America cite the following thought patterns as precursors to test anxiety: Fear of failure: While the pressure to perform can act as a motivator, it can also be devastating to individuals who tie their self-worth to the outcome of a test.…

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Imagine studying for hours on end, fully preparing for an exam, and feeling confident about knowing all the required information only to sit down to take the exam and forgetting everything that you know. The moment the teacher begins distributing the exam, your heart starts racing, your mind draws a blank, and out of nowhere, intense fear paralyzes you. If you have experienced this before, you may have test anxiety. Test anxiety is a serious problem and, for those who have succumbed to it, an incredibly frustrating experience. According to the American Test Anxieties Association, 16-20% of students today experience test anxiety. That’s quite a high prevalence, but hardly surprising when you consider the stress that millennials are under. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the symptoms of test anxiety in children and teens include the following: Physical symptoms: Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath,…

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We, both culturally and individually, tend to take tests like the SAT and ACT seriously because of the opportunities high scores can unlock. However, most students and families maintain perspective about the exams, while others can only be described as lackadaisical in their approach. All in all, on the national level, we tend to get worked up about the concept of the tests and not so much their ongoing administration. But imagine if we in the United States observed each test day by doing the following: Ban airport landings and departures for 40 minutes to assure quiet during a critical listening portion of the test. Open markets and businesses an hour late so that city traffic would clear up for students on way to the exam sites. Issue emergency numbers so students stuck in traffic can request police escort rides before gates to the test sites close. Delayed or cancel…

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