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Test Anxiety. Goode- Pasfield Center for Learning & Teaching Fintel Library. Beating the Saber Tooth Tiger!. What is Test Anxiety?. A type of performance anxiety; Can be diagnosed as a “situational phobia” in the DSM-IV; A testing situation that provokes the “flight or fight” response;

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test anxiety

Test Anxiety

Goode-Pasfield Center for Learning & Teaching

Fintel Library

Beating the Saber Tooth Tiger!

what is test anxiety
What is Test Anxiety?
  • A type of performance anxiety;
  • Can be diagnosed as a “situational phobia” in the DSM-IV;
  • A testing situation that provokes the “flight or fight” response;
  • Doesn’t seem to have a logical reason;
  • May stem from childhood or other previous experiences.
symptoms
Symptoms:
  • Nausea;
  • Sweating;
  • Rapid heart beat;
  • Tension – not being able to relax;
  • Mentally “freezing up”;
  • Going “blank”;
  • Feeling jittery;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Headache;
  • “Butterflies”.
fight or flight
Fight or Flight:
  • This physical and mental reaction to a test is the same automatic response that you would feel if you were a cave man/woman face-to-face with a saber-tooth tiger, only you:
  • Can’t run (or at least shouldn’t)
  • Can’t fight (who?)
  • Your body has no way to get rid of the pumping pent-up adrenaline;
  • So what does your body do?
your mind takes over
Your Mind Takes Over:
  • Your brain takes “charge” to try to get you out of the “dangerous” situation;
  • Your brain goes “blank”, which causes you to finish faster, so you can leave ASAP;
  • You have negative thoughts;
  • You “give up” and leave;
  • And as soon as you are out of the

room……

the answers come back
The Answers Come back!
  • As soon as you are able to leave the “dangerous” situation and relax, many of the answers that you thought you had forgotten come back to you!
so we know
So, we know…
  • That relaxing is a key to getting rid of the “fight or flight” symptoms (more about this later);

What Else do we Know About Test Anxiety?

  • We know that negative thoughts

create a vicious cycle of anxiety.

  • What are some negative thoughts?
negative thoughts
Negative thoughts
  • I’m not good at this kind of test;
  • Why bother taking this test?;
  • What if I fail this test?;
  • I didn’t study this chapter;
  • This test is way too hard;
  • I might as well give up;
  • I never do well on multiple choice tests;
  • What if I fail this class?;
  • I studied and knew this yesterday!;
  • I hate this class!
are there other causes
Are There other causes?
  • Not preparing well for the test (study skills);
  • Not allowing enough time for study (time management);
summing up the problems
SumMing up the problems:
  • Not relaxing during the test;
  • Having negative thoughts;
  • Not studying properly;
  • Poor time management.
what to do with thoughts
What to do with thoughts:
  • Reframe them:
  • I studied and I know the material;
  • Everyone has to take this test;
  • I can fail this test and still pass;
  • I’ll just do my best on this part;
  • Other people will have trouble too;
  • Giving up guarantees an F;
  • I could repeat the class if necessary;
  • I need to relax so the answers will come back to me;
  • My feelings for this class don’t matter right now.
  • I’m not good at this kind of test;
  • Why bother taking this test?;
  • What if I fail this test?;
  • I didn’t study this chapter;
  • This test is way too hard;
  • I might as well give up;
  • What if I fail this class?
  • I studied and knew this yesterday!;
  • I hate this class!
remember tfa
Remember TFA:
  • Thoughts
  • Feelings
  • Actions
  • Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, which lead to negative actions/behaviors. Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings, which lead to positive actions/behaviors.

T

F

A

relaxing during a test
Relaxing During a Test:
  • If possible, try to exercise before a test;
  • Don’t arrive early and study;
  • Stop about every 10th question and relax;
  • Take deep breaths;
  • Close your eyes briefly;
  • Hang your arms by your side briefly;
  • Stretch your legs and relax;
  • Rotate your shoulders and your neck;
  • Put your pencil or pen down briefly;
  • Pay attention to your posture;
  • Practice reframing your thoughts.
test anxiety is curable
Test Anxiety is Curable:

Don’t give up! Keep working on test anxiety. It is one of the most curable forms of anxiety.

  • Takes about 3-4 months of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (about 6-8 sessions);
  • In extreme cases, medication can be prescribed.