Article #20: Test Anxiety and Other Academic Pressures
Did You Know?
Test Anxiety is considered one of the causes of stress that can lead to long-term health concerns.
Which of the below are among the others?
c. Family money issues or financial strain
d. All of the above
Any number of stressors can add up to health concerns. Big changes at home like moving, divorce, or money issues can add to that stress. Talk with your teacher, school counselor, youth leader, or family doctor about healthy ways to cope with, combat, or relieve that stress, so you can do your best when it counts the most.
The further you go in school, the more the tests seem to count. Quizzes, mid-terms, finals, and standardized tests. The stakes keep rising.
In small doses, test-day anxiety can keep you focused. Too much, though, is not a good thing. Beyond the self-doubt and decreased confidence can come an elevated heart rate, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite. Take steps to make you feel more even-keeled during test time:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice:
You can never be too prepared. It may seem like a mountain of material but take the tortoise route: slow and steady wins the race (you know that old story, right?) Keep up, rather than playing catch-up. Rehearse. Use memory tricks like flash cards and mnemonics (e.g., acronyms like "All The Colors of the Spectrum" by Mr. ROY G. BIV
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Try copying the conditions under which you’ll take the test when you study. Same pencil or pen. Same lighting. A practice test, in the same timeframe you’ll get on test day. You may be surprised how much your memory can come up with.
2. Know Thy Teacher:
Your teachers often are the ones that write the tests, so the more you know about their patterns, the better. Talk with them. Pay attention to what they repeat. It’s a good bet they’re drumming it in with an eye toward putting it on your test. "Do we have to know this for the test?" is not a question teachers want to hear. If they get the hint that you’re interested in actually learning and applying the facts, ideas, and concepts that they’re going on and on about, you’ll have them in your corner when test time comes around.
3. Take Care of the Vessel:
On test day, your body will be brimming with facts. Keep it upright by eating balanced meals, with plenty of protein (from lean meats, eggs, milk, nuts and whole grains). Protein fires up your brain. And carbohydrates (carbs) like cereal, pasta, and potatoes help you get through marathon exams. Try relaxation and visualization techniques. Stay calm, breathe, and picture exactly when you learned the answers to each question. And see yourself acing those tests.
If you have any special circumstances, or conditions like Dyslexia or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), work with your teachers. See if you’re allowed more time to prepare and complete tests or discuss the possibility of taking them orally. Let nothing stand in the way of letting you shine.
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