How to Cope With Test Anxiety

How to Cope With Test Anxiety

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How to Cope With Test Anxiety

Most students experience some degree of test anxiety. Test anxiety refers to a combination of physiological, emotional, and psychological components that are caused by the stress of taking exams. This may interfere with one's ability to think, reason, and plan. For some students, test anxiety is an unpleasant experience but doesn't necessarily interfere with exam performance. For other students, however, test anxiety is not only an unpleasant experience but also seriously interferes with exam performance.
One component of test anxiety is called the emotional component. It includes different kinds of physiological responses, such as sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and dry mouth. Experiencing this component of test anxiety causes stress, which can interfere with processing information and increase the chances of making mistakes. To reduce the emotional component, researchers have found that students should participate in relaxation exercises.
The other component of test anxiety is the psychological component, which has to do with worry about performance. This excessive worrying about performance interferes with the ability of students to read accurately and understand the materials they are reading. One way to reduce this component is for students to direct their worry into studying rather than directing it into taking the test.
There are several ways in which one could cope with test anxiety: 1) select a place to study that you feel comfortable in; 2) reward yourself for studying; 3) keep record of your study time; 4) organize your schedule to fit each task; 5) complete each task before going on to another.
Two of the most important study skills are setting goals and taking notes. A student may set a time goal, such as studying a few hours a week; set a general goal, such as trying to study hard and stay on schedule; set a specific performance goal, such as getting at least 80% of the homework problems correct. Another important study skill is taking notes. Students generally make two kinds of mistakes in taking notes. One is to try to write down everything the instructor says, which leads to confusing notes. The other is to copy concepts that they do not understand but hope to learn by memorization. Good notes are compromised of the following: 1) written information summarized in your own words; 2) outline the important concepts; 3) try to associate the lecture notes with the material text; 4) asking yourself questions and making up questions from the notes.

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Researchers have found that people who participate in the above study skills would increase their test scores dramatically and would reduce their test anxiety to a great extent. They have also found that students who participate in study skill classes would increase their test scores up to 23%. This shows how efficient and effective study skills are in improving grades and reducing test anxiety.
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