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Overcoming Test Anxiety. What Is Anxiety? Anxiety is a very complex human reaction Physical elements: sweaty palms accelerated heartbeat a queasy stomach.

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Presentation on theme: "Overcoming Test Anxiety. What Is Anxiety? Anxiety is a very complex human reaction Physical elements: sweaty palms accelerated heartbeat a queasy stomach."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overcoming Test Anxiety

2 What Is Anxiety? Anxiety is a very complex human reaction Physical elements: sweaty palms accelerated heartbeat a queasy stomach Mental elements: self-doubts & worry

3 Physical Elements: z Fight, Flight or Freeze warning system.

4 The Amygdala zSend impulses to the autonomic nervous system that elicit the: zFight alarm response (anger-like feelings) zFlight alarm response (fear-like feelings) zFreeze alarm response (inability to take action)

5 Chemicals zSuch as adrenaline, noradrenalin, and cortisol are released into the bloodstream, causing the heart rate, blood pressure and other bodily processes to undergo a series of dramatic changes. zAt the same time, primitive areas of the brain, designed to respond to threat, shape perception and thought. zThe rational mind has little involvement in this sequence.

6 Going Blank Scientific research has proven that there is a physiological reason why our minds go blank under stress. The flight, fight or freeze response causes our blood to flow away from the information processing part of our brain to our large muscle groups (legs and arms) and to our brain stem.

7 Our Nervous System has two divisions: zSympathetic - arouses us to respond to a perceived threat. zParasympathetic - helps us calm down.

8 This is your brain... zOrdinarily your brain is fully engaged, able to control breathing, your heart, listen to music, read a book, and process the information, all at the same time.

9 This is your BRAIN... On Stress Hormones zBut, when danger is perceived and the fight, flight, or freeze system activates, your brain functioning changes. Only the primitive brain is working (vital functions, heart beat, body temp & digestion).

10 Sympathetic 4Heart beats rapidly 4Blood pressure goes up 4Blood flows to our muscles 4Digestion slows down 4Breathing rate increases 4Glucose is released to give us energy 4Perspiration increases 4Adrenaline is released

11 Parasympathetic 8Breathing is slowed down 8Digestive processes increase 8Heart rate slows down 8Blood pressure decreases 8Perspiration returns to normal

12 The student with test anxiety may: ßFeel light-headed (hyperventilation=shallow upper chest breathing) ßGo blank ßBe unable to concentrate ßFeel exhausted when the test is over (our bodies use more energy when anxious)

13 Summary of Physical Elements: One way to define anxiety is to say that it is a fear-like arousal, when the situation really isnt physically threatening.

14 Your Anxious Brain zFrontal Lobe (behind forehead) takes up 37% of the human brain. It dictates how we respond in social situations. zCerebellum (primitive brain) The flight, fight or freeze response causes blood to flow away from the cerebrum, the information processing part of the brain to the cerebellum the primitive brain. The primitive brain focuses on fighting or running away, not mathematical calculations.

15 Mental Elements: Important but harder to measure. attitudes beliefs Our attitudes and beliefs help determine how we react. One way we look at these attitudes and beliefs is through our self-talk. Learn EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to change these unwanted attitudes & behaviors

16 Consider the difference in saying: This test will be a challenge. Ill study well and give it my best shot.OR This test is going to be awful! I just know I wont be able to remember everything. Im going to bomb this test! Then I wont be able to remain in college.

17 In Summary Test anxiety is: a complex reaction resulting from both physical and mental elements.

18 II. ANXIETY--WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? HLike most human behaviors, you learned it. HWhen you were younger, someone may have put a lot of importance on an upcoming test, and you felt pressured to succeed. HYou may have failed a test in the past and received a lot of negative feedback from teachers or parents.

19 Other possible sources of test anxiety experienced by college students : èUnfamiliarity èPreparation~ è(If you havent studied enough you probably will be nervous.) èGeneral Lifestyle èConditioned Anxiety èIrrational Thinking

20 III. FIVE COPING STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING ANXIETY ¶Improve your study skills/Be better prepared ·Improve your general lifestyle ¸Learn physical relaxation techniques and practice them ¹Use positive self-talk ºManage the testing situation

21 Coping Strategy #1 Be Better Prepared wReview, review, review! Nothing replaces consistent, constructive study time. wLearn test-taking strategies. wManage your time effectively. Overcome procrastination.

22 Tips for overcoming the urge to procrastinate: JSet realistic goals. JDwell on your successes, NOT your failures. JStudy in small blocks of time. JModify your environment. JLearn to say NO once your priorities are set. JStay away from the telephone when youre trying to get work done.

23 Coping Strategy #2 Improve Your General Lifestyle çExamine your priorities. çStop or postpone most non-essential activities. çRemember: changing priorities may take some re-negotiating of responsibilities with our family members and friends. çEat nutritious food. çAvoid sugar. çExercise regularly.

24 Coping Strategy #3 Learn/Practice Relaxation Techniques REMEMBER: It is physiologically impossible to be both relaxed and anxious at the same time. Specialized ways of relaxing that may help you in school: 6Deep Muscle Relaxation 6Deep Breathing Relaxation 6Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

25 To be most effective, practice your relaxation techniques when you are not anxious. After youve practiced, you should begin using your relaxation method: yWhen you are studying and start to tense up. yJust prior to the test because the calming effect will last for a while. yDuring the test if you feel yourself start to get anxious. The key to success is PRACTICE!

26 Coping Strategy #4 Using Positive Self-Talk Its as simple as A-B-C: zA=Activating Event yWhile taking a difficult test a student begins to feel physically tense. zB=Belief yWhen I feel like this I always mess up. I cant stop it! zC=Consequences yThe student gets a full blown anxiety attack and goes completely blank.

27 Challenging Those Irrational Beliefs zOne method is to dispute the belief and substitute an alternative belief. zUse positive self-statements: yPlan in advance what you will do when the activating event occurs. yDevelop a set of positive or rational self-statements which you can practice.

28 Examples of Positive Self-Statements: I have prepared well, I can pass this test. zThere probably will be some questions I cant answer, but that doesnt mean I cant get a good grade. zI dont have to get an A, I just have to pass it. zPeople who get done early and leave dont necessarily know more than I do, they just work faster or they dont know their material and cant answer many questions.

29 zYou may want to write your affirmations on a 3x5 card or a small piece of paper so that you can carry it in your wallet or purse. zPost them on your mirror, refrigerator, or on your computer monitor. zPractice saying them to yourself often. The key to success is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE !

30 Coping Strategy #5 Manage the Testing Situation xPlan to Use the Entire Time xStop, Pause and Relax xSkip Questions You Arent Sure of xSeek Accommodations If You Have a Disability

31 Review of Coping Strategies for Anxiety : ÊImprove your study skills/Be better prepared. ËImprove your general lifestyle. ÌLearn physical relaxation techniques and practice them. ÍUse positive self-talk. ÎManage the testing situation.

32 How to Calm Down in Under a Minute zHeres how: zBreathe in through your nose and on a slow count of three zPush your stomach out as you breathe in zBreathe out through your mouth on a slow count of six zRepeat two more times –Tips: –If you feel light-headed, breathe more slowly. –Practice three times a day and you will remember the steps when you are stressed out.

33 During the Exam zDo an information dump! Before you begin answering, jot down hard to remember formulas and terms on the margins or back of exam. zSurvey the exam. Before you begin answering, take a quick look at the whole exam. This may help you decide where to begin and how much time to spend on each question. zRead directions carefully and underline key phrases. zDo easy questions first. They may give you clues for the more challenging questions. zUse positive self-talk zRelax! Use your strategies to calm yourself.

34 Set Goals for Change zIn order to improve my test taking skills, I will work on________________________ zList two test taking or study skills you will incorporate this week: z1.________________How?_____________________ z2.________________How?_____________________ zList two test taking or study skills you will incorporate this semester: z1.________________How?______________________ z2.________________How?_____________________

35 Managing test anxiety is a skill which you can learn. YOU CAN DO IT!

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