Thursday, May 16, 2024

How To Reduce Test Anxiety

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A Positive Reception From Students And Teachers

How to reduce test prep anxiety: 3 tips from Sal Khan

When I asked my students for their opinion about this approach, one of them said, Im not sure if its just me, but Ive had my fair share of experiences where I question absolutely everything I know in the few minutes before a test. The five-minute Test Talk gives me an opportunity to double- or triple-check my uncertainties with my classmates to give me more confidence and to settle my nerves before taking a test. I dont see it as an opportunity to try and learn something brand-new right before the test, but more as a chance to briefly collaborate about what Ive already studied.

Since I first posted this idea on Twitter, many teachers have shared their variations on it. A teacher named Andre Sasser does her version of the Test Talk in the middle of the testing periodevery student has something to contribute since theyve had more time to think.

Effects Of Stress And Anxiety

The long-term effects of stress and anxiety can take a toll on your health, your relationships, and your overall well-being.

To learn how to deal with stress, take a page from your older, wiser, and more experienced relatives, mentors, and friends. AARP surveyed adults across multiple generations and found that the older we get, the better we are at handling lifes stresses.

This is relevant because we can learn from our older friends and relatives. The same AARP survey found that Baby Boomers top activities when theyre feeling stressed are:

  • Private prayer: 49%
  • Walk for exercise: 19%
  • Surf the internet: 17%

The same AARP survey of younger generations found that younger generations were more likely than older generations to use negative coping mechanisms such as:

  • Sleep or nap: 40% of Millennials, 26% of Gen Xers, and only 20% of Boomers
  • Lose your cool: 36% of Millennials, 28% of Gen Xers, and 22% of Boomers
  • Eat comfort food: 39% of Millennials, 30% of Gen Xers, and 27% of Boomers
  • Drink alcohol: 18% of Millennials, 14% of Gen Xers, and 7% of Boomers
  • Abuse drugs: 6% of Millennials, 4% of Gen Xers, and 2% of Boomers
  • Smoke: 10% of Millennials, 6% of Gen Xers, and 5% of Boomers

The effects of stress and anxiety on our bodies and lives have been well-documented. The Mayo Clinic lists common effects of stress:

Help Your Child Feel Good On Test Day

Not getting enough sleep can affect how your child feels on test day. This is especially true for kids with attention issues. Make sure your child gets enough rest the night before a test. Be mindful of screen time. Be sure your child takes all necessary medications. And try to provide a protein-rich breakfast, such as eggs or oatmeal.

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More Experience With Proctored Exams Helps Reduce Anxiety

Students experienced:

  • 6% less overall test anxiety between their first and second exams
  • 15% less anxiety associated with the statement, Thoughts about the proctor interfered with my concentration.
  • 100% of students who interacted with a remote proctor responded Yes to the interview question Did the proctor make you less anxious?

Tips For Overcoming Test Anxiety

Lake Carolina Elementary Communigator Reducing Test Anxiety

So, how can you get over test anxiety? Here are some tips to help:

  • Be prepared: Lack of preparation can significantly worsen test anxiety. Make sure you are fully prepared next time you take a test. This includes thoroughly studying, getting a good nights sleep, and arriving to class early.
  • Modulate your breathing: Anxiety causes shortness of breath and a racing heart. In order to modulate these, practice regulating your breathing. Try breathing in deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This will slow your breathing and help to control your heart rate.
  • Maintain positive thinking: Negative thinking and catastrophizing can lead to more severe symptoms such as depression. Set reasonable expectations for yourself and remember that your self-worth should not be tied to the results of a test.
  • Laugh more: Laughter is a natural medicine that improves your mood and combats stress. Try watching YouTube videos or listening to a funny podcast the next time youre feeling stressed.
  • Stay healthy: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for your physical and mental well-being. Remember to always get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and practice self-care.
  • Chew gum: Chewing gum during a test can help keep your mind focused on the task at hand and away from negative thoughts.
  • Hang out with pets: Research suggests that spending time with pets can decrease stress and anxiety in humans. If you dont have a pet, consider fostering a pet or pet sitting.
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    Symptoms Of Test Anxiety

    Test anxiety symptoms can range from mild to severe. It is possible to have mild symptoms of test anxiety and still perform well on exams. Others can feel so overwhelmed that they encounter panic attacks before or during exams. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America describes symptoms of test anxiety as physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional.

    Physical SymptomsPhysical symptoms can range from increased heart rate, sweating, dry mouth, to shaking, fainting, panic attacks, vomiting and nausea.

    Cognitive and Behavioral SymptomsCognitive and behavioral symptoms can include negative self-talk and cognitive distortions that lead students to avoid studying or testing situations. Challenges with focus and concentration as well as racing thoughts or rumination can be common.

    Emotional SymptomsEmotional symptoms can include low self-esteem, depressive symptoms, frustration, irritability, feeling overwhelmed and a sense of hopelessness.

    Boost Your Childs Confidence

    Giving honest and specific praise can remind your child that success is possible no matter what the outcome of the test is. Success doesnt have to mean a perfect score. Just doing a good job of preparing is already a win. So if you notice that your child is working hard on preparing for a test, mention this. Feedback like this can help kids approach tests with more confidence. Praise effort on daily homework and activities outside of school, too. This can help kids remember past successes when theyre feeling anxious.

    You can also take a look at other ways to boost your childs confidence before a test.

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    Q Is Test Anxiety More Prevalent Today Than Ever Before

    Driscoll: I think so, possibly because there is more emphasis on testing today. I also think there is more loneliness and isolation today than ever before. Many of us have fewer close friends. If you are with all your buddies, you’re probably not going to be anxious because you know no matter how the test turns out, you’re one of the family. In the sense that no matter how you do on the test, there is a place for you to fall. That’s part of the dread if you don’t do well on the test, that there isn’t a place for you in the world. So isolated people who don’t test well have a harder time.

    Four Tips For Lasting Relief

    Test Day Tips – Tips to Reduce Test Anxiety
  • Start Early Begin preparing for midterms and finals the first day of class, disciplining yourself to master the material every step of the way. By the time the exams come, you’ll be ready and confident. And confidence is one of the major buffers of stress.
  • Work on Memory Skills Try different ways to fix facts in your mind. Make up flash cards. Develop recall techniques such as assigning letters to a series of points you want to remember or associating a word with a fact. Find out what works for you, and use it to create your own data retrieval system in your mind.
  • Learn Test-Taking Skills There are tricks to test-taking, and they can be learned. Multiple-choice and essay tests require different approaches. Practice taking tests, and you’ll learn why. For personal assistance, make an appointment with Learning Services or the Counseling Center.
  • Don’t Grade Yourself Resist the impulse to let your grade point average serve as a measure of your self worth.
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    Prepare And The Grade Will Take Care Of Itself

    When Bill Walsh took over as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, his work was cut out for him. The organization had endured several embarrassingly bad seasons prior to his arrival, and as a result, the media, fans and even some players expected the 49ers to fail.

    That was until Walsh implemented a new philosophy.

    Instead of setting long-term goals like winning the Super Bowl, Walsh prioritized the tiniest details each and every day: wearing uniforms properly, executing plays in practice down to the inch, eating healthy, and getting adequate rest.

    If the players could do these little things right every single day, the score of the game would take care of itself.

    There are strong parallels between Walshs coaching philosophy and test preparation. Boosting confidence in the classroom starts long before test day. This means taking care of the little things: taking notes every class and reviewing material consistently instead of cramming the night before the exam.

    The compound effect of this slow, steady preparation is the confidence that you need to ward off those nerves on test day.

    The downside of thorough preparation is obvious: its time-consuming, especially for college students who juggle multiple classes, jobs, and extracurriculars. The key is to find a level of preparation that you can tolerate without overwhelming yourself.

    Then, on test day, think, Ive prepared as best I can now the grade will take care of itself.

    Dont Take Any Kind Of Pressure

    Most of the time it happens, when we or our parents expect the first rank from us and we couldnt prepare then we get pressurize and that brings our test anxiety. Even a little bit of doubt about your coming test result makes you anxious.

    So dont think I have to be first or I will get only first rank, just give your best. If your parents have a lot of expectations from you then just say them- I dont know what rank Ill get but I will give my best in the test. Dont take any pressure and stress.

    If you have completely prepared for your test then you must get the first rank or good grades. Once youll have this kind of mindset and will free from pressure and expectations then chances are you will be able to get rid of your test anxiety.

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    Diet Influences Brain Function

    Nutrition is connected to brain function. When you provide your brain with essential nutrients, you can lower the chance of anxiety.

    Multiple studies suggest that a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars can increase depression and anxiety symptoms.

    Eating well-balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding caffeine can help you manage and prevent test anxiety.

    Q Can Suffering From Test Anxiety Have Long

    Staar Resources Conquering Text Anxiety

    Driscoll: Yes, definitely. People who have achievement anxiety are less likely to go into the higher fields of achievement, such as being a captain of industry or a major scientist. They’re scared, they feel they’re not worthy, that they can’t do it, that they’ll embarrass themselves. It’s a really important point. If test anxiety continues, many of them will be underachievers.

    Kissen: The quicker you deal with it the better. Or it can become years of Oh, I don’t want to take that test so I’m going to take a different major, now I’m not happy and I feel unsatisfied, and I feel like a loser because I don’t have a career I believe in and now I’m depressed and it’s impacting my relationships, and so on. The longer it goes on the more it starts impacting other things. It’s when you start changing your life to not have those feelings or experiences that you start taking your life off track.

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    When To Seek Help

    Many people experience anxiety, particularly when it comes to taking tests. However, if you feel your fear of tests is getting in your way of functioning at school or work, consider reaching out for professional help.

    A mental health professional can explore the underlying causes of your anxiety and can work with you in developing a plan to manage it.

    These resources may help you:

    Exam Preparation: 8 Strategies For Reducing Exam Anxiety

    Have you ever frozen on an exam? Found yourself unable to recall material during the exam and then recalled everything afterwards? Had trouble focusing on exam questions because of interfering thoughts?

    Here are 8 strategies to prevent this from happening again. Select which ones you think are most relevant for you.

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    Long Term Relaxation Techniques

    The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Response Technique is the best long-term relaxation technique. It is presented on Side Two of the audio cassette, How To Reduce Test Anxiety . Cue-controlled relaxation means you can induce your own relaxation based on repeating certain cue words to yourself. In essence, you are taught to relax and then silently repeat cue words, such as I am relaxed.

    After enough practice, you can relax during math tests. The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Technique has worked with thousands of students. For a better understanding of test anxiety and how to reduce it, listen to How to Reduce Test Anxiety .

    What This Looks Like In Class

    Reduce Test Anxiety

    One of my favorite hobbies is listening to students talk about math. On test days, I walk around the classroom listening to pre-test conversations, and theyre some of the best mathematical conversations Ive ever heard. Its great to hear students collaborate and problem-solve, all while using mathematical vocabulary. For example, the test question below was to write a number sentence for each figure and to find the equation of growth for Figure n.

    As I listened in, I heard comments like these :

    • I see a big square, with two extra rows and a single block each time
    • I counted from left to right, so I saw a row, a vertical column, a rectangle, then another row
    • I made one huge rectangle that fits the entire shape, then chopped off rectangles until I got the desired figure.

    As these students shared their methods, I saw other students listening intently, asking clarifying questions to really understand the math, which is always a plus.

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    Provide Important Information About How Proctored Exams Work

    Give your students upfront information about how proctored exams work so that they know what to expect beforehand.

    Be sure to include information about:

    • What online proctoring is, how it works, and why its used
    • What can trigger a flag and what to expect during an interaction with a test proctor
    • Test rulesto help avoid any confusion
    • Minimum system requirements
    • The role of a remote proctor
    • Available support options and how to access it
    • Accessibility options and accommodations

    Take A Good Amount Of Sleep

    Proper sleep is compulsory for our health and mind especially when we have anxiety. Because a good amount of sleep restores your brainand makes you more energetic and refresh.

    I know its very difficult to fall asleep when you have test anxiety but if you can then nothing could be more beneficial than it. Here is a guide on how deep sleep may treat anxiety.

    And for taking a deep sleep, I would suggest you go to the bed early and leave your phone half one hour before bed.

    Dont too think, If Id sleep more I cant give enough time to my preparation.

    Once your mental health would be good you can be more productive in less time, dont you think?

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    Training Proctors To Better Support Students During Times Of Anxiety

    Our approach to online proctoring aims to improve the testing experience for students. Staying true to our word, our full-time remote proctoring team was trained by a nationally certified counselor and educator on support during moments of assessment frustration and anxiety to assist students and help them feel supported in their test-taking environment.

    Saying No To Cognitive Distortions

    Do you have a fun way to reduce test

    Cognitive distortions are patterns of thinking that can cause you to see yourself and others more negatively. Identifying these distortions may help you manage test anxiety.

    Negative self-talk and performance anxiety are often connected to distorted thoughts.

    Research suggests you can replace negative self-talk with positive statements once you acknowledge the negative ways you speak to yourself. Self encouragement and support can lift your mood, lessen anxiety, and boost confidence in your test-taking abilities.

    Here are some examples of self-talk replacements:

    • Instead of I cant do this, consider I can do this.
    • Instead of Im not good enough, you could say Im am doing my best.
    • Instead of Im going to fail, consider I am prepared.

    Identifying and reassessing other thoughts, such as catastrophizing, may help you avoid jumping to the worst possible conclusion every time you take a test.

    This way, you can focus on the evidence versus the catastrophizing thought .

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    Change Your Personal Definition Of Anxiety

    If you watch the Olympics or other prominent athletic competitions, youll notice that reporters always ask participants the same question during interviews: Were you nervous?

    99% of the time, he or she will respond by saying something along the lines of, No, I was excited.

    How can this be? These elite athletes are performing on a global stage, often with their livelihoods at stake. As Simon Sinek points out, it has to do with how they interpret physical and mental stimuli.

    Take a moment to consider the signs of anxiety: fast heartbeat, sweaty palms, butterflies, and so on. Now consider the signs of excitement: fast heartbeat, sweaty palms, and butterflies. Theyre indistinguishable.

    The athletes, whether purposely or not, trained themselves over years of practice to interpret nerves as excitement.

    So, next time you start to feel anxious before a test, remind yourself: this is exciting.

    Youll be surprised how effective this tactic istrust me.

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