ALL anxiety is a reaction to anticipating something stressful. Under stress, the body releases the hormone “adrenaline”, which prepares the body for danger. This is the “flight or fight” reaction. Anxiety creates a vicious circle: the more a person focuses on bad things that could happen, the stronger the anxiety becomes.
What Causes Test Anxiety? Lack of preparation: cramming the night before the exam poor time management failure to organize text information poor study habits Worrying about: past performance on exams how friends and other students are doing the negative consequences of failure
EFFECTS OF TEST ANXIETY Nervousness Mental blocks Difficulty organizing thoughts Difficulty concentrating on questions Remembering answers after the test is over
Preparing for or ANTICIPATING ANXIETY Focus on dealing with what you have to do Take one step at a time Think about what YOU CAN DO Think RATIONALLY Don’t WORRY; worrying accomplishes nothing
CONFRONTING/HANDLING ANXIETY Don’t think about FEAR; just think about what you have to do Stay relevant Relax….you’re in control. Take slow…..deep breaths Expect some anxiety; it’s a reminder not to panic but to relax and cope steadily with the situation.
COPING w/BEING OVERWHELMED When the FEAR comes, just PAUSE. Keep the focus on the PRESENT: what is it you have to do? Expect some fear to arise. Don’t try to eliminate fear totally; just keep it manageable. You CAN reason your fear away. Describe what is around you. That way you won’t think about worrying.
REINFORCING SELF STATEMENTS “It worked. I did it!” “It wasn’t as bad as I expected.” “I made more out of fear than it was worth!” “I am getting better. I am learning to cope more smoothly.” “I can be pleased with my progress.” “I like how I handled it. I can be proud of myself.”
TECHNIQUES TO DECREASE ANXIETY CHANGE THOUGHT PATTERNS PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION
CHANGE THOUGHT PATTERNS All-or-nothing thinking Catastrophic thinking Comparison thinking Negative filter “ If I don’t get an “A”, I might as well fail.” “If I fail this test, I’ll never graduate.” “If they’ve already finished, I must be doing something wrong.” “I can’t solve this problem. Oh no! Now what am I going to do.” Changing negative self-talk to more rational, objective, productive, affirming thoughts.
PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION Tense and relax each major muscle group in progression. Take 3 calming breaths in through your nose and mouth. Stretch your neck and arms to release tension. Practice visualizing yourself preparing for the test, taking the test, getting the test back with positive results. Combine muscle relaxation with deep breathing, positive imagery, and isometrics to calm your body and your mind.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS Before you begin studying and before you begin a test, FOCUS on your thumbnail for 2 minutes. This will relax you and create a link between the information you studied and your ability to recall the information when taking the test.
Right Brain/Left Brain The Left brain is where information is stored. When you feel Anxious (emotional), the Right side of the brain is activated… …No data gets in! RIGHT LEFT
BRAIN SOLUTION To get out of the Right brain & into the Left, before a test: write down the directions to a friend’s house try to recall phone numbers do simple addition/subtraction problems.
BEFORE THE TEST Start preparing for exams the first day of class. Review your syllabus carefully to see when, how many exams there will be. Plan reviews as part of your regularly weekly study schedule Reread your lecture notes & ask yourself questions on the material you don’t know well. Review for short periods of time..
DURING THE TEST Read directions carefully. Preview the test to see how much time you need to allot each to each section. Work on “easiest” parts first. Save time at the end of the exam to review.
AFTER THE TEST If the instructor reviews the exam in class, make sure you attend. When you receive your test back, go over it to determine areas of strength & weakness in your test-taking skills If you have done poorly, learn from your mistakes. Always analyze your test results.
BEST KEPT SECRET! On a 3”x 5” card (front & back), write everything you know about the subject you will be tested on. The act of writing down the information will help you remember.
TRUE-FALSE QUESTIONS When you don’t know the answer, mark it TRUE. There are generally more true questions than false. Look for any factor that will make a statement false. Look for extreme modifiers that make the question false: all, always, only, none, never, best, worst… Qualifying words make the question true: usually, some, might, seldom, often, sometimes, may Negative words or prefixes complicate the statement: prefixes un, im, miss alter the meaning of a statement. Double negatives make a positive: “not uncommon” = “common” Questions that state a reason tend to be false.
MULTIPLE CHOICE Formulate your own answer before reading the options. Eliminate unlikely answers first. Select numbered answers from the middle range, not the extremes. EX. The height of a mountain is requested… eliminate 20, 000 ft and 3,000 ft. Then choose between 8,000 ft and 11,000 ft Select answers that are longer and more descriptive. Similar answers give you a clue! One of them is correct, the other is disguised. Watch out for “Not True?” Eliminate what is true.
MATCHING QUESTIONS Examine both lists to determine the types of items and their relationships. Use one list as a starting point & go through the second list to find a match. Move through the entire list before selecting a match because a more correct answer may follow. Cross off items on the second list when you are certain that you have match. Do not guess until all absolute matches have been made.
FILL IN THE BLANK Concentrate on the number of blanks in the sentence and the length of the space. Provide a descriptive answer when you cannot think of the exact word or words. The instructor may reward you with partial credit.
ESSAY QUESTIONS Organize your thoughts before you begin to write. Paraphrase the original question to form your introductory statement. Use the principles of English composition. Write clearly! Teachers need to be able to read it. Use bullets or lists whenever possible. Identify the verbs or words in the question that give you direction…. summarize, discuss, explain.
FINAL THOUGHTS Anxiety CAN be managed. Test-taking is a skill that CAN be learned. Old dogs can learn new tricks and so CAN YOU!!!