Reduce Test Anxiety Green River Community College Counseling Services
Why do a workshop on test anxiety? O It is a common problem. O Tests are here to stay. O It is possible to reduce and deal with test anxiety so that your true knowledge, skills, and ability show through.
Objectives O Find out your test anxiety type. O Improve your mindset about tests. O Learn to breathe to reduce test anxiety.
O What is test anxiety? O Test anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced about tests due to concern, worry, or fear.
Understanding the Four Components of Test Anxiety O The four components of test anxiety: O Emotional: feelings about test (afraid, nervous) O Behavioral: what you do in a testing situation (tap your pencil on your desk, look at clock excessively) O Cognitive: thoughts about tests and what they mean (usually negative and distracting) O Physiological: the bodys chemical changes, upset stomach, sweaty palms, headache O Whats your test anxiety type and level?
Whats Your Anxiety Level and Type? Give yourself 1 point for each item that is true for you. O When I take tests, or even think about tests, I tend to: 1. feel fearful that I will fail 2. feel fearful that I will succeed 3. feel stupid or embarrassed 4. feel uneasy and uncomfortable Subtotal _______ 5. feel fidgety 6. look at the clock or my watch a lot 7. feel paralyzed 8. spend a lot of time just staring into space 9. flip through the pages of the test because I dont know where to start Subtotal _______
Test Cont. 10. have distracting thoughts that make it hard to read and understand the questions 11. think about my previous bad test grades 12. think of all the bad things that will happen if I fail (e.g., get a bad grade, fail the class, lose my financial aid) 13. think a lot about how much time is passing Subtotal _______ 14. sweat (palms, forehead, armpits, etc.) 15. have headaches 16. have upset stomach 17. have rapid heart beat 18. have tense muscles Subtotal _______ Grand Total: ____________
Results O If your grand total score is: 0-5 = low test anxiety 6-12 = medium test anxiety 13-18 = high test anxiety O Emotional: questions 1 – 4 O Behavioral: questions 5 – 9 O Cognitive: questions 10 – 13 O Physiological: questions 14 - 18
Whats Your Mindset About Tests? O Tests are gatekeepers. O The problem isnt that we have tests, its the meaning that we attach to tests, our mindset, that may be causing us anxiety. O Ask yourself some tough questions to learn more about your test taking mindset.
Whats Your Test Taking Mindset? O 1. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being hate them and 10 being love them, how do you feel about tests? O 2. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being hate them and 10 being love them, how do you feel about math tests? O 3. What is your earliest memory about taking a test? O 4. What was your first negative experience with test taking? O 5. Do you think that some people are just born with the ability to take tests well? O 6. What does it mean to you if you fail a test? O 7. Have you ever been called stupid or teased about something academic? O 8. What does it mean to you if you ace a test? O 9. Do your parents (or other important people in your life) pressure you to do well in school? O 10. How important is it to you to get good grades? Why is it important?
O Improve Your Mindset O Events dont cause us to feel any particular way. Its what we think about an event that causes us to feel a particular way. Event => Feelings Event => Thoughts => Feelings RIGHT!
How the process works: Fail test => I suck. I cant do disappointment school. Im never frustration going to pass thisconfusion class. I always dohopelessness badly on tests. I worthlessness shouldnt even anxiety try. Those questions werent even fair.
Heres a process that can lead to less anxiety Fail test => I didnt do well disappointment on this test, that hopeful sucks. There are curious four more tests to maybe some take, and we get anxiety to drop our lowest score. Maybe I can do some extra credit. I need to make sure Im well prepared for the next test.
Get rid of negative self-talk O Become aware of what you say to yourself. O I always mess up on tests. O Im awful at math. O Im going to be the last person to finish the test and everyone will know how dumb I am. O Im just not a good test taker.
Write down your negative thoughts and dispute them with a positive or neutral statement. Negative Thought Positive or Neutral Statement O I always mess up on tests. O Im awful at math. O Im going to be the last person to finish the test and everyone will know how dumb I am. O I havent actually messed up on every single test Ive ever taken. O What I really hate is feeling confused and stupid. If I had a good understanding of the concepts, I might actually like math. O Just because I finish last doesnt mean Im dumb. I want to take as long as I can to be sure Im being thorough. Its always good to do a final once-over anyway.
Gradually start to replace the negative self- talk with positive statements. I can do this. Im determined to learn math. One bad test grade doesnt mean I wont pass the class. Ive done well in other classes. I can do well in this one too. Ive made it this far, I must be doing something right. Write positive statements on cards and put them in places youll look: bathroom mirror, front of a notebook/folder, inside of your front door, night stand, computer/phone screensaver. Avoid comparing yourself with other students!
Relaxation Techniques O Deep breathing promotes concentration O Find a quiet place where you wont be interrupted and get in a comfortable position. O Head, neck, arms, and legs should be supported so theres no tension in these areas. O Its normal to get distracted. Thats ok, just come back to your breathing. O This is a great time to say positive statements to yourself. It helps you focus.
Smart Things to do Before, During, and After a Test O Before O Take a practice test the day before O Get enough sleep, avoid caffeine O Stop negative thoughts, replace with positive statements O During O Read the directions and review the test, plan your approach, and schedule your time O Easiest questions first O Dont know an answer, mark it & come back to it O After O Learn from your performance. Make sure you understand the answers to questions you got wrong (a great reason to use office hours or discuss in a study group)
Review O You should aim for reducing test anxiety, not eliminating it. O There are four components of test anxiety: cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological. O It is possible to reduce test anxiety by: O Challenging negative self-talk and replacing it with positive statements O Learning and using deep breathing O Maximizing your performance before, during, and after a test
Visualize Success (and breathe) O See yourself in the test situation. See yourself calmly receiving the test, skimming over it, and starting it. O See yourself confidently answering the questions on the test. O See yourself completing the test and doing a final review before turning it in. You know you have done your best so you feel good about the test. O See yourself turning in the test, and saying,Good job!