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Fighting SAT Exam Anxiety

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Exam anxiety usually includes following symptoms:

In order to manage your anxiety, you must first determine what your stressors are and exactly what increase you that anxiety in the first place. Do you have trouble focusing? Are you intimidated by the clock? Do difficult questions give you great problems? Once you answer these questions, you can attack your problem systematically.

If you have trouble concentrating think about another situation in which you managed to overcome you anxiety. Persuaded yourself to relax, think clearly, and approach test a confident matter.  If the clock intimidates you, you need to practice better time management. That is no better way to get use to clock then use it during practice exams.  Set a timer for the time that is allotted for each part of the exam. When the time is up, move to the next part. If you continue to do this, you will begin to manage your time more efficiently.

Panic can also strike you while preparing to the exam. You need to resist the urge to over-prepare:

If you suddenly feel the desire to cram a few more equations, review a few more strategies, or cram a few more vocabulary words into your head at the last minute, donít! Last minute cramming for any exam only increases anxiety and can lead to a general brain freeze. Cramming is giving in to your panic.

So, if youíre sitting down to take one more practice test on the eve of the exam, go watch a movie or something. You officially have permission. And that leads to the last bit of advice.

A week before the exam, be sure to

These are useful lifelong habits that you can later employ at the university  and other times when you need to to take a major exam.

Beware of excessive peer pressure. Try to answer honestly the following question: Is pressure from parents bother me to the extent it interfere with my work?  See Using EFT successfully for piano exam anxiety for additional information:

It was about three weeks before my teenage studentís piano exam and I knew that his preparation had been excellent.  He was a very conscientious student whose practice habits were exemplary.  In order to simulate the examination situation I asked him to play his pieces while I sat to one side, making no comment and taking a few notes.

It was obvious from the outset that the pressure to perform was overwhelming and it was agonizing to watch him struggle with the pieces that he had previously played well.  I envisaged that he might not even pass this exam.  After he finished playing we talked about how anxiety had affected his performance and he was happy to try this weird thing called EFT which I thought would really make a difference.

I showed him the tapping points and together we tapped on the many different aspects of his anxiety.  Some aspects included:

Stress management might help too ( Test Anxiety):

During the exam, try and manage your anxiety. If you find your mind going blank, close your eyes, and breathe deeply and slowly. Test anxiety sufferers usually have great imaginations, but they imagine all the possible negative consequences of doing poorly on a test. It's not uncommon for their negative "what-if" thinking to lead them to conclude that they will somehow be a lifelong failure and disappointment, not to mention a college flunk-out, all based on one exam. Managing test anxiety means managing "negative imagination", and channeling one's thoughts in more positive and realistic directions. Your future in college and in life, and the approval of your family and friends does not depend on any one exam or any one course. Try and substitute more realistic thoughts for the negative ones. Focus on all that you CAN do to earn the grades you want.

Lastly, use good stress management daily, not just before an exam. This means managing your time so that you can accomplish your academic work as well as socialize and have fun, while maintaining health through regular exercise, relaxation, and good nutrition..

Good luck !

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


Old News ;-)

Test Taking and Test Anxiety - University Learning Center

After every study session, tell yourself you are going to pass this exam. Likewise, offer yourself rewards for studying. Give yourself something to look forward to after studying and after the exam, so you can feel as if you have accomplished something. Often the time you spend doing this is just as important as the studying itself. Here are a few tips to help keep your energy level high during test preparation:

Reduce Exam Anxiety Ten Steps to Taking Exams with Confidence by Gregory Lloyd

Terrified of taking tests? Does your stomach tie up in knots? Does your mind go blank? You're not alone. Many adults hesitate to go back to college because they know there will be lots of tests, and they find it difficult to face up to the challenge. It's perfectly normal to feel that way. However, you can overcome your fear and look forward to tests with complete confidence.

That's right. Whether you take classes on campus, through independent study, or online, if you follow these ten steps you'll find that exams are not such a huge obstacle after all.

Ideas to minimize exam anxiety Journal of Engineering Education Find Articles at BNET

Many factors might contribute to exam anxiety. However, the factors used in this study were limited to those factors for which validated scores could be obtained from inventories or questionnaires [3]. These factors were: 1) study skills, 2) self-image, 3) short-term stress or anxiety, 4) long-term stress or anxiety, 5) problem-solving skills, and 6) a willingness to engage in solving difficult problems. The latter two factors might be particularly appropriate for engineering students because most examinations pose problems to be solved. The details for each of these factors and a brief description of the inventory are as follows.

1) Study Skills: Although the LASSI inventory [4] was available, especially the scales for self-testing and review and test strategies, we developed and validated our own Likert-style questionnaire with help from the McMaster Study Skills Centre. Our Study Skills Questionnaire assessed skill in reviewing, keeping up with the subject, and preparing for tests. The score was coded as "A_Learn" in our statistical analysis reported in section IV. The Lancaster Approaches to Study Questionnaire, LASQ_[5], provided four different scores related to approaches to studying: a) the composite of deep learning plus strategic style learning, coded as "Knap_Com"; b) deep learning, coded as "Knap_D"; c) strategic learning, coded as "Knap_A"; and d) rote learning, coded as "Knap_B." (These code designations are in keeping with score designations found in LASQJ5].)

2) Self-image: In this study, we used the self-image score in the Kellner-Sheffield inventory [6] where a high value means a low self-image. It was coded as "K_Inad."

3) Short-Term Stress or Anxiety: We measured short-term stress or anxiety by the first value in the Kellner-Sheffield inventory [6] where a high value means high stress. It was coded as "K_Anx."

4) Long-Term Stress or Anxiety: Long-term stress or anxiety in life in general can be measured from the Holmes-Rahe value [7] or from the second value in the Kellner-Sheffield inventory [6]. In this study, we used the latter where a high value means high anxiety. It was coded as "K_Dep."

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Recommended Links

Anxiety - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The ABC`s of Eliminating Exam Anxiety

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Test Taking and Test Anxiety - University Learning Center

Make exam anxiety work for you

Test Anxiety Counseling Services, University at Buffalo

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How to Calm SAT Test Anxiety Practical Mind Tricks for Calming Your Nerves

SAT Test Anxiety Tips and Advice


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A student who just took SAT walks into a bar. The bartender walks over. "Hey buddy, why the long face?"



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