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Test Anxiety. Presented by Lisa Korte Colorado State University. Anxiety is a natural response to threatening situation Form of the “fight-or-flight” response in body HR rises, BP rises, and Breathing rate rises With tests, primary “threat” is possibility of failure and/or loss of esteem.

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test anxiety

Test Anxiety

Presented by

Lisa Korte

Colorado State University

anxiety in general

Anxiety is a natural response to threatening situation

  • Form of the “fight-or-flight” response in body
  • HR rises, BP rises, and Breathing rate rises
  • With tests, primary “threat” is possibility of failure and/or loss of esteem
Anxiety in General
anxiety cont

High levels of anxiety can interfere with ability to perform task at hand (i.e.: tests)

  • Stressful emotions inhibit students’ ability to absorb, retain, and recall information
  • Anxiety creates a kind of “noise” or “mental static” in brain that blocks ability to retrieve what is stored in memory
Anxiety Cont.
what is test anxiety

Most often defined as a situation-specific trait with emotionality and worry as major components.

  • In the DSM-IV, test anxiety is considered a specific phobia; a situational type anxiety.
  • Research shows approximately 20% of U.S. college students experience some symptoms of test anxiety
  • More common in females than males
What is Test Anxiety?
common symptoms

Physical – headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and/or dry mouth.

  • Emotional – excessive feelings of fear, disappointment, anger, depression, uncontrollable crying, or helplessness.
  • Behavioral – fidgeting, pacing, substance abuse, avoidance.
  • Cognitive – racing thoughts, “going blank,” difficulty concentrating, negative self-talk, feelings of dread.
Common Symptoms

Lack of Preparation

  • Poor Test History
  • Fear of Failure
  • Poor Time Management, Study Habits, Lack of Organization
5 most common techniques for reducing anxiety

Positive thinking

  • Relaxation
  • Preparedness
  • Resignation
  • Concentration
5 Most Common Techniques for Reducing Anxiety
connection to alcohol use

Students with test anxiety are more likely to drink to reduce tension

  • Males report tension reduction as more important reason to drink than women
Connection to Alcohol Use
recognizing test anxiety
Have a hard time studying for an exam
  • Finding things easily distract you when studying for an exam
  • Expectation of failure no matter how much you study
  • During test experience sweaty palms, an upset stomach, a headache, difficulty breathing, and/or muscle tension
  • During test you experience difficulty understanding questions and directions
Recognizing Test Anxiety
recognizing test anxiety cont
Thoughts are unorganized during the test
  • During the test you “draw a blank”
  • During the test you find that your thoughts wander
  • Usually score lower on tests than assignments and papers
  • After the test you can recall information that you couldn’t during the test
Recognizing Test Anxiety Cont.
before the test
Use good study techniques and build confidence
  • Maintain a positive attitude while you study
  • Be well rested and fed (no junk food!)
  • Practice good time management when studying
  • Get organized
  • Take a step by step approach to studying
  • Get help for material you are unsure of
Before The Test
best environment to study
Minimize noise levels
  • Use “do not disturb” sign
  • Make sure room is well lit
  • Cool temperature better than warm
  • Use a desk and a chair with high back
  • Have everything you need handy
Best Environment to Study
tips for reducing test anxiety

Be prepared

  • Develop good test-taking skills
  • Maintain a positive attitude; positive self-talk
  • Address “what if” questions
Tips for Reducing Test Anxiety
tips cont

Stay focused

  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Stay healthy
  • Seek additional help (counseling center)
Tips Cont.
during the test
Read all directions carefully
  • Budget your test taking time
  • Change position to help you relax
  • If you go blank, skip the question and go to the next
During The Test
during the test cont
Don’t panic when students turn in test before you
  • Take slow deep breaths
  • Use positive statements (“I can do this”)
  • Eat a small snack to take your mind off the anxiety
During the Test Cont.
  • Ideas
  • Discussion