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Published on : Jul 26, 2014
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Slide 1 - TEST ANXIETY WORKSHOP Presented by: Becky Osborne Director, Center for Academic Success
Slide 2 - Managing test anxiety is a skill which you can learn. The goal is to manage anxiety, not get rid of it completely. Introduction:
Slide 3 - I. What Is Anxiety? Anxiety - a very complex human reaction Physical elements: sweaty palms accelerated heartbeat a queasy stomach Mental elements: self-doubts & worry
Slide 4 - Fight or Flight Test anxiety triggers this natural response.
Slide 5 - The student with test anxiety may: Feel light-headed (hyperventilation=shallow upper chest breathing) Go blank Be unable to concentrate Feel exhausted when the test is over (our bodies use more energy when anxious)
Slide 6 - Going Blank Scientific research has proven that there is a physiological reason why our minds go blank under stress. The flight or fight response causes our blood to flow away from the information processing part of our brain to our large muscle groups (legs and arms) and to our brain stem.
Slide 7 - This is your BRAIN. . .
Slide 8 - This is your BRAIN on Stress Hormones
Slide 9 - II. ANXIETY--WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? Likely from one or (possibly) two sources—heredity & past learned behavior. Scientific research reveals that some of us have a physiological predisposition toward anxiety. Also, you may have failed a test in the past and received a lot of negative feedback from classmates, teachers or parents.
Slide 10 - Other possible sources of test anxiety: Unfamiliarity Lack of Preparation (If you haven’t studied enough, you deserve to be nervous.) High stress lifestyle Self-defeating thought patterns
Slide 11 - III. FIVE COPING STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING ANXIETY Improve your study skills/Be better prepared. Lower your overall stress level. Conquer self-defeating thoughts using positive self-talk. Learn physical relaxation techniques and practice them. Seek professional help for clinical anxiety disorders.
Slide 12 - Coping Strategy #1 Be Better Prepared Review, review, review! Learn test-taking strategies. Plan to Use the Entire Time Stop, Pause and Relax Skip Questions You’re Unsure of Overcome procrastination. Dwell on your successes, NOT your failures.
Slide 13 - Coping Strategy #2 Lower Your Overall Stress Level Examine your priorities. Stop or postpone most non-essential activities. Remember: changing what we do may take some re-negotiating of responsibilities with our family members and friends. Eat nutritious food. Avoid sugar and caffeine. Exercise regularly.
Slide 14 - Coping Strategy #3 Conquering Self-Defeating Thoughts Here’s what typically happens: It’s as simple as A-B-C A=Activating Event While taking a difficult test a student begins to feel physically tense. B=Belief (Self-Defeating Thought) “When I feel like this I always mess up. I can’t stop it!” C=Consequences The student gets a full blown anxiety attack and goes completely blank.
Slide 15 - Do you recognize any of these types of self-defeating thought patterns? Black or white – entirely good/entirely bad Exaggerating – self-critical statements that use words like never, nothing, everything, or always Filtering – ignoring the positive but focusing on the negative Discounting – rejecting positive experiences as not important or meaningful Catastrophizing – blowing expectations out of proportion in a negative direction
Slide 16 - Self-Defeating Thoughts, cont’d Judging – being critical of self with heavy use of words like should, ought to, must, etc. Mind reading – making negative assumptions regarding other people’s thoughts Forecasting – predicting events will turn out badly Feelings are facts – because you are feeling a certain way, reality is seen as fitting that feeling Labeling – calling self or others a bad name when displeased with a behavior Self-blaming – holding yourself responsible for things not completely under your control
Slide 17 - D=Dispute Self-Defeating Thoughts One way to dispute the belief is to substitute an alternative belief. Use positive self-talk: Plan in advance what you will do when the activating event occurs. Develop a set of positive or rational self-statements which you can practice.
Slide 18 - Examples of Positive Self-Statements: “I have prepared well, I can pass this test.” “There probably will be some questions I can’t answer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get a good grade.” “I don’t have to get an A, I just have to pass it.” “People who get done early and leave don’t necessarily know more than I do, they just work faster.”
Slide 19 - You may want to write your statements on a 3x5 card or a small piece of paper so that you can carry it in your wallet or purse. Post them on your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, car’s dashboard, or any place where you will see them often. Practice saying them to yourself at least three times a day. The key to success is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Slide 20 - Coping Strategy #4 Learn/Practice Relaxation Techniques REMEMBER: It is physiologically impossible to be both relaxed and anxious at the same time. There are four specialized ways of relaxing that may help you in school: Positive Imagery Cueing Deep Muscle Relaxation Deep Breathing Relaxation To be most effective, practice your relaxation techniques when you are not anxious.
Slide 21 - Online Test Anxiety Resources Type the following web address into your browser: See links to breathing exercise (5 min.) & deep muscle relaxation exercise (25 min.) in MP3 format
Slide 22 - When you are studying and start to tense up. Just prior to the test because the calming effect will last for a while. During the test if you feel yourself start to get anxious. The key to success is PRACTICE! After you’ve practiced, you should begin using your relaxation method:
Slide 23 - Coping Strategy #5 Seek Professional Help Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Most people respond well to therapy, medication, or both. If you think that you may be experiencing a clinical anxiety disorder, seek professional help. On campus, resources are available through the Parkland College Counseling Center (2nd floor of “A” wing; 217-351-2219). If diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may be eligible for academic accommodations. Contact the Office of Disability Services (X-148; 217-353-2338).
Slide 24 - In Summary: Sorry, there are no magic tricks to eliminate test anxiety. Reducing it will take plenty of hard work & practice. The important thing to remember is—you can learn to manage test anxiety.