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MANAGING TEST ANXIETY Strategies for Stress Reduction and Better Test Performance A Connect to Success Presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "MANAGING TEST ANXIETY Strategies for Stress Reduction and Better Test Performance A Connect to Success Presentation."— Presentation transcript:


2 MANAGING TEST ANXIETY Strategies for Stress Reduction and Better Test Performance A Connect to Success Presentation

3 What is Anxiety? A physiological and psychological response to a perceived danger or threat Two types of test anxiety Anticipatory: Felt when thinking about and/or studying for a test Situational:Felt while taking a test

4 How do you deal with it?

5 Anxiety Symptoms Physiological:Psychological: Upset stomachConfusion RestlessnessMemory blocks Sleep problemsIrritability Muscle tensionImpaired concentration HeadachesPoor judgment Back painFrustration

6 More symptoms Muscles tense Blood pressure rises Stress hormones are released… Head feels like its in a clamp. Stomach hurts. Sweating. I studied this stuff yesterday, why cant I remember? Cant think! I know the answers both before and after the test, but not while taking the test!


8 Do you often times feel like this?

9 Assess Yourself Calm Very anxious _________________________________________

10 Lack of preparation! Past experiences of blanking out or performing badly on exams. Focusing too much on the outcome. Focusing too much on how other classmates and friends are doing. Issues outside of school distracting you from studying for or concentrating on exam. What causes test anxiety?

11 Separate lack of preparation with test anxiety. If you spent the previous night cramming material, or even started studying the day before, you are NOT prepared. When you study like that, you are creating a short- term memory, not storing the material. It is very difficult retrieve material you havent stored. You should study at least a week in advance of the exam!

12 Understanding Stress Learn to understand the stress response Stress is not something we can avoid Stress is a response to any physical, emotional, psychological, or intellectual demand that requires a readjustment of the individual in some way. Stress is a fact of life.

13 When youre in a situation that you perceive to be stressful your brain will switches to a fight or flight mode. It releases adrenaline and nonadrenaline, the Hormonal system releases. The response is both physical and emotional

14 The Stress Response Say you encounter a bear in the forest… As a result of seeing this bear, your body prepares for fleeing from it: your heart rate goes up, your lungs start breathing faster, you are (understandably) very nervous you have dry mouth. Your brain stops working, because its already told your body to RUN and now it can turn itself off in preparation for flight.

15 Remember how we said that Stress is a fact of life? Stress can be a good thing…in fact, some stress is a necessary thing for success.

16 Three approaches to managing test anxiety Efficient Study Techniques Cognitive Restructuring (negative self-talk to positive) Relaxation Techniques

17 Cognitive Restructuring Changing the way we think – Changing the things we dwell on

18 Negative Self-Talk Traps Previous Problems with Test Performance Fear of Exposure Focusing on the Grade vs. Learning the Materiel All – Or – Nothing Thinking Self-Labeling

19 More Negative Self-Talk Well, youve waited til the day before the exam because youve said to yourself, I can only study when I feel energized and now I feel really energized. But, since Ive waited so long, Im not sure I can do very well because I may not have enough time to study everything. And, since I may not have enough time to study everything, it might be that what I study wont be on the test and what I dont study may be on the test.

20 And More Negative Self-Talk…. I always panic and my mind goes blank What if I really bomb the exam? What if I just freeze? When I cant answer the first question, I panic If I dont pass this test, it means Im stupid If I dont pass this test, Ill flunk the class If I flunk the class, Ill flunk out of college.

21 Now, instead of actually studying, you close your eyes and picture yourself going to the exam, full of dread, knowing that you dont know. You see yourself sitting in the desk as the test papers get passed back. You can clearly see yourself looking at the top page of the exam and blanking out completely. And you rehearse this over and over again

22 So, you go to class the next day, full of dread and when the test hits your desk, you look down at the first page and blank out. No surprise here. You have just demonstrated the power of positive thinking! What you think will happen has a dramatic and often direct effect on how you behave.

23 What you see is what you get! Each time you imagine something or ask yourself questions, or make statements to yourself, a part of you hears each of these as a suggestion for action. Remember how you get good at things - practice, practice, practice. If you practice how awful you will perform, it is likely that that is how you will act.

24 Take responsibility for yourself We are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.

25 Things to dwell on………….. I have done what I could, now I am going to do my best I have a choice as to how I perceive this situation Will I remember this in 10 years? There is more to life. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

26 Learn to Relax Deep breathing (adds oxygen to the brain) Inhale for slow count of 6. Exhale for slow count of 8 Think of breathing in peace with each inhale. Visualize blowing out tension, negativity with each exhale.

27 Progressive Relaxation Take a Mind Vacation … visualize yourself in a wonderful place.

28 Progressive Relaxation Exercise Here is the Progressive Relaxation Exercise: Take a deep breath – completely fill your lungs. Now release as much air as you can. Repeat this three times. Now focus on your toes. One by one, relax each toe. Take your time. Allow each muscle in your foot to relax as you allow this warm sensation of relaxation to move through your foot and to your ankle.\ Notice how you are breathing deeply, and with each exhale a little more tension is released from your body.

29 Progressive Relaxation Contd Now allow the warm sense of calm to gently move up your legs. Slowly allow each muscle.

30 Progressive Relaxation Now focus on the base of your neck and allow the calm, warm sense of relaxation to move up the back of your neck, slowly up over the top of your scalp and finally relax your forehead, ears, eye lids, nose, lips, and jaw. Notice how your breathing deeply and a great sense of relaxation, focus and calm has taken over your body and mind. Now is a great time to take a couple of deep breaths and begin to study, or take an exam. Best wishes to you.

31 Tips for Doing Relaxation Set aside 30 – 45 minutes NOT after a meal Quiet, distraction-free environment Dim lights Warm temperature Loose clothing Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair

32 Benefits of Relaxation Physiological Effects Relaxation of skeletal muscles generalized to smooth muscles Effective in treating migraine and tension headaches Effective in treating backaches Psychological Effects Increases self-concept and self-esteem Reduces anxiety Reduces depression Helps insomniacs sleep

33 Use Efficient Study Strategies! Study SMARTER

34 Review material effectively and often throughout the semester. Conduct review sessions 10 minutes a day for each class. Seeing, hearing, or interacting with the class material often will help you remember it. -Study in short spurts (an hour or less) and take breaks, rather that studying straight through for several hours. -Aim for understanding the material, not just memorizing

35 The Curve of Forgetting illustrates why cramming for any exam is not the smartest way to studyCurve of Forgetting

36 Within 24 hours of the lecture, if you spend ten minutes reviewing–rewriting your notes, rereading the text for exampleyou can raise the curve to almost 100% again (the orange line in the above graph). On Day 7 it will take you only five minutes to recall the information, again raising the curve to almost 100%. If you review every week, by Day 30 it will take your brain only two to four minutes to report back the information.

37 Think you dont have time to review every day? I would tell you that you cant afford not to review every day, for without reviewing frequently, youll need to spend 40 – 50 minutes re-learning each hour of lecture notes. Do the math. Do you have that much time to devote to cramming for the test? What can it hurt to try a new method? If you continue with the same habits, you will have the same results.

38 Prepare well in advance Dont go without sleep the night before Stop studying an hour or so before the test and relax and compose yourself Avoid speaking with any fellow students Who have not prepared Who express negativity Who will distract your preparation Talking about the test raises your anxiety

39 Tips for In and Out of Class Meet your teacher. Attend office hours. Attend class regularly Take careful notes Get the names and phone numbers of some people in your class. Form/join a study group. Talk with your advisor Schedule free tutoring

40 Visit the Student Success Center Free Tutoring Study Groups Organization Tips Time management tools Study Skill Advising Disability Services More….. We all need a little help now and then

41 Your best advocate can be….. …….YOU

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