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Coping with Test Anxiety

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Pablo Iglesias

on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of Coping with Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations.
It can actually impair learning and hurt test performance. What we believe/think determines how we feel and how we behave.

Our Perception determines our Reality Anxiety is a feeling state of fear,
trepidation, or being overly-concerned. Coping with Test Anxiety by Pablo Iglesias Insights on Anxiety It´s all about your Brain What is Text Anxiety? The learning Process What is Anxiety? A feeling someone experiences in a situation where performance really counts: A state of uneasiness , apprehension, uncertainty, fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation. In students happens more when are being evaluated: taking a test or giving a speech. When drawing attention to themselves. How do you Know is test Anxiety? The Symptoms and signs are:
“Blanking out” even though you know the material well
Not understanding words you know/trouble with reading comprehension
Difficulty concentrating
Physical discomfort
As soon as you leave the test, you remember everything While taking an examination, do you experience...
• an inability to concentrate or are easily distracted
• persistent “butterflies” in your stomach
• an increase in heart rate or breathing
• confusion or panic
• sweaty palms, nausea or fainting
• mental blocks - despite hours of preparation, an inability to remember answers
• yawning or boredom

Prior to taking the examination, do you experience...
• loss of sleep
• loss of appetite
• irritability
• fear or dread
• feelings of hopelessness Quiz: Do you have Test Anxiety? Researchers say.. Test anxious people divided their attention between taking the test and worrying about the results of the test.
It was also found that test anxious people were more self critical that non test anxious people.
Test anxious people tend to be perfectionists.
It affects 25% to 40% of students. •Test anxiety people tend to have high general anxiety, causing it to worsen during evaluations

•Repeated difficulties with test-taking or other performances can lead to self-steem issues, which in turn can create more frequent and more intense experiences of anxiety.

•Excessive pressure can worsen an adolescent´s anxiety further impairing performance, self confidence and motivation

•Family pressure and expectations can increase a student´s level of test anxiety

•Poor motivation Triggers/Causes of Test Anxiety: Test anxiety is NOT to be confused with the normal, reasonable anxiety that results from being unprepared for a test •They are eager and agitated to make a good impression

•Not enough study time

•Not “feeling” well prepared

•Thinking Test scores will measure their intelligence or self-worth

•Fearful of what could happen if… Why do most sudent´s have Anxiety specially when it comes to testing? Anger: My teacher doesn´t want me to pass

Blame: The class is boring

Fear: I have no time to study It also surfaces: What do we do??

Lets find out some strategies to reduce test Anxiety Test anxiety is a feeling that comes from interpreting tests as threats to your safety. This is based in extreme patterns of thinking, or cognitive distortions/irrational beliefs. Prior, during and after a test...
What is in your mind?
What kind of thoughts fill your head?
Doubts? Expectations? Blaming?

Describe your thoughts. Making a list of thoughts and what you feel about the upcoming test:
.... Your thoughts are similar in any way to these?:

I´m going to perform poorly, I have not studied enough, or I will appear foolish.
I´m not smart anymore.
I must do perfect.
I have a lot of pressure and must perform well.
I used to make better grades; maybe I´m getting stupid.
People will think of me that I´m a fool.
....... Change your Mind! Believe it or not your mind is filled with
Irrational believes patterns that distort your Reality. Let´s make an adjustment in our Mind using the ABC exercise A. (Activating situation) I tried to do something and failed
B. (irrational Belief I have about A) I must always be successful
C. (Consequences of believing B) I feel bad, depressed, etc.
D. (Dispute the Irrational Belief in B) Where is it written in stone that I must I always be successful?
E. (Effective new thinking to replace B) I would prefer always to be successful but let's be realistic- that isn't very likely, is it- I am human and humans are fallible, therefore do not succeed in everything they attempt. If success is important, then I will work harder recognizing that failure may occur again. Jesse often overgeneralizes when it comes to tests, with thoughts such as, “If I don’t do well on this test, my academic record will be ruined and I’ll never get the job I want. My life will be over.”

A more rational interpretation would be, “I would like to do well on this test, and so I will study hard and prepare. But, if it doesn’t go well, it probably won’t be the end of the world. Maybe I can get extra credit or my other grades will compensate for this one bad one. In the worst case scenario, I can take the class over for a better grade.” Here are some things you might think or believe, in which case these could be your Irrational Beliefs:

•I must be thoroughly competent at all times, or else I am incompetent and worthless!
•I MUST NOT feel overwhelmed with responsibilities I CAN'T STAND IT when I feel (bored, sad, lonely, whatever)
• You must treat me reasonably, considerately, and lovingly, or you are a bad person and you should be blamed and damned for your horrible treatment of me!
• Everyone should love me, or else I am unloveable. I should always be successful, or else I’m a failure. When things are scary, I should be able to cope. I shouldn’t feel so shy and nervous - what’s wrong with
me?... etc.
• I MUST NEVER display weakness
• People who do bad things MUST ALWAYS be punished etc. 1. All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories.
2. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened,
4. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. Dispute your thoughts: critically thinking: a bad grade in one course out of ten courses total is only 10% effect of your total final grade for that year. Keep tests in perspective. Be realistic! Tests are…
•Not solely a measure of your intelligence
•Not directly a measure of your knowledge of the course material
•Not a complete picture of what you know
•Not a measure of your worth as a student or human

Decrease anxiety to increase your tests scores! Test are intended to…

•Measure your performance on any given day
•Tell you how much you know about the questions that were asked
•Measure your skills as a test-taker and ability to apply logic to questions Let´s take some Perspective.. Instead of trying to stop your worrying, consider the worst thing that could ever happen…if you fail take your worry to the limit…what do you see that could be the worst of all in this life? Consider the worst. What do I do when the irrational Beliefs burst in my mind and I can´t control them?

Stop the Thoughts and say to yourself mentally: Stop/Enough/It´s enough/Get out/Out (Choose one for yourself) and repeat mentally the replacement you chose.

Irrational belief: I must do perfect.
Say: Stop
Replace with rational belief: I'd like to, but things don't always go the way we want. I'll do my best to do well but when I don't achieve what I think I have to I'll recognize that life goes on and I can't expect to be perfect at everything I do.
I´ll be fine.
Everything is going to be fine. Stopping the Thought Technique Worry is the fretful thinking we do when we feel anxious. Anxiety's most productive function is to
prepare you for challenges or dangers
that you may have to face. Anxiety is a problem when it gets triggered often, is overwhelming, or you can't let it go. There are two sides to the anxiety and worry equation:

1. Overstating a possible challenge or danger and the likelihood that it will happen.

2. Understating your own abilities and resources to handle that challenge or danger. Some tips on Anxiety:
Fight or Flight Response
This is your body’s way of protecting you in times of perceived danger.
This process diverts energy from unnecessary processes (e.g., digestion, immune system functioning, cell maintenance) and puts it to use in necessary ways to protect your safety.
This involves beefing up essential functions and turning off non-essential functions during times of high anxiety or stress.
The result is increased heart rate, breathing faster, hypervigilance, and other symptoms that can turn to panic when we are not in any physical danger.
When a test is perceived as a threat, the fight or flight response is activated, and interferes with optimal test performance.
We need to retrain our brains to not view a test as a life-threatening situation. Optimal Stress
Stress isn’t always necessarily bad.
Optimal stress means your stress level is within a moderate range, not too high or low.
Optimal stress challenges us to grow.
We all need optimal stress to help us focus on what matters, have energy to accomplish our goals, and stay calm under pressure. Strategies to reduce the physical symptoms of test Anxiety The tensing and differential relaxation method

1.Put your feed flat on the floor
2.With your hands, grab underneath your chair.
3.Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair for about 5 seconds
4.Relax for ten seconds
5.Repeat the procedure four or five times Deep breathing

1.Sit straight up in your chair using good posture.
2.Inhale slowly through your nose.
3.As you inhale, fill the bottom of your lungs first, and work your way up to the top of your lungs.
4.Hold your breath for a few seconds
5.Exhale slowly through your mouth
6.Wait a few seconds and repeat the cycle The palming method

1. Close and cover your eyes with the center of the palms of your hands.
2. Prevent your hands from touching your eyes by placing the lower parts of your palms o your cheekbones and your fingers on your forehead. No part of your hand should touch your eyes.
3. Think of some real or imaginary peaceful place. Mentally visualize this scene as if you were there actually seeing through with your eyes.
4. Visualize this relaxing scene for ten to twenty seconds. Study habits for visual learners

o Always have the "big picture"
o When trying to remember things, close your eyes to get a picture or image of the information to facilitate recall or use flash cards
o Use mind or concept maps
o Look for alternative sources of visual material when you study videos, overheads and PowerPoint demonstrations, graphs, maps, and media programs
o Use technology: internet, You tube, videos, etc.
o Illustrate your notes with images and graphs
o Use color highlighters to emphasize important material Study habits for Kinesthetic learners
No "performer" would prepare for the big event without a training program and schedule.

o Develop routines and habits for learning Schedule when you study, what you study (begin with easier subject matter to build confidence)
o Learn by trial and error Ask for real-life examples
o Seek out courses with labs and field trips
o Involve all of your senses in learning. Use your hands to explain things; your body to act things out
o Use concept mapping
o Use technology to take advantage of your hand-eye coordination Multi-media technology Developing self-discipline Self-discipline can be considered a type of selective training, creating new habits of thought, action, and speech toward improving yourself and reaching goals. Schedule a small task for a given time of the day;

Scheduling helps you focus on your priorities. By focusing on starting tasks rather than completing them, you can avoid procrastination.

• Schedule a task and hold to its time; Avoid acting on impulse.
• Track your progress; At the end of the allotted time, keep a record of accomplishment that builds over time. Harness the power of routine.
Allocate a specific time period each day of the week for that task.
Hold firm.
Don't set a goal other than time allocation, simply set the habit of routine.
Apply this technique to your homework or your projects, you will be on your way to getting things done Advantage: When you have a clear idea as to what you want to achieve for the day at its start, the chances are very high that you will be able to proactively accomplish the tasks. Writing or sketching out the day helps. The key to overcoming procrastination is just to get yourself in motion. It doesn't matter how small, easy, or simple that motion is--just do any little bit of action. Any big project is just a bunch of little actions strung together, one building on the last. So, if you can just get going in any way at all, you're on your way. Here are some examples to get your wheels turning:
-If you want to study, but don't feel like it, just start reading over some pages of the subject
- Do an internet search: videos, Wikipedia, articles, etc.
-Tell a friend about what you want to study and have them ask you about it. Scheduling Procrastination Motivation Turn your motivation into Intrinsic Motivation:
In everything you do include:
-Your goals
-Your values
- Your interests
I want to learn to type or text faster to communicate with my friends. What benefit will you find in continuing your education? Independence, intellectual pursuits, sports/athletic, religion, creativity, new friends, dating, other.
Curiosity is your desire to learn about something. In “one or two words”, what topic or subject would you really like to learn about?
This subject should help you fill a need that you have.
Why do you think learning about it is important to you? Concentration Concentration: the ability to direct your thinking Tips:
Center yourself in silence
"Here I study"
Stick to a routine
Change topics
Vary your study activities
Take regular, scheduled breaks
Rewards Study hard subjects at peak energy times;
easier ones later. Visualize My daily schedule Studying Index card system 1. Write each question or term on the back of an index card
2. On the front of each index card, write an answer or an explanation for the question or term on the back.
3. Shuffle the index cards so you can't figure out any answers based on their location in the deck
4. Look at the card on the top of the deck: Try to answer the question or explain the term.
5. Proceed through the deck of cards until you know all of the information Mind- and concept-mapping Using Memory Effectively Acronyms An acronym is an invented combination of letters IPMAT, the stages of cell division
Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telephase Acrostics An acrostic is an invented sentence or poem with a first letter cue Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune
My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nothing Rhyme-Keys The Method of Loci Imagine yourself walking through the location, selecting clearly defined places--the door, sofa, refrigerator, shelf, etc. Imagine yourself putting objects that you need to remember into each of these places by walking through this location in a direct path. Chaining Create a story where each word or idea you have to remember cues the next idea you need to recall. Overcoming test anxiety General preparation/building confidence:

Developing good study habits and strategies
Managing time (dealing with procrastination, distractions, laziness)
Organizing material to be studied and learned Take a step by step approach to build a strategy and not get overwhelmed
Outside pressures success/failure consequences (grades, graduation), peer pressure, competitiveness, etc.
Reviewing your past performance on tests to improve and learn from experience Test preparation to reduce anxiety
Approach the exam with confidence:
Be prepared!
Choose a comfortable location for taking the test with good lighting and minimal distractions
Allow yourself plenty of time, especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early
Avoid thinking you need to cram just before
Strive for a relaxed state of concentration
A program of exercise is said to sharpen the mind
Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam
Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach Fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress.
Take a small snack or some other nourishment
•Don´t ask your peers During the test:
Read the directions carefully
•Allow a 2 minutes panic time
Budget your test taking time
Change positions to help you relax
If you go blank, skip the question and go on
If you're taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind
Don't panic when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for finishing first After the test, review how you did
List what worked, and hold onto these strategies It does not matter how small the items are: they are building blocks to success. Write down some discovery statements on how do you felt as you took the test follow with an intentional statement about what could you do next time.
List what did not work for improvement
When the text is given back to you make sure points are added up correctly, and then look at the questions you missed.
See if you can correct them.
Analyze your errors.
Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle With difficult subjects:
Sometimes taking time away from one of your more difficult subjects is not the best. To master take your courses back to back since your memory is still fresh in that subject.

Ask questions fearlessly: There is no such thing as a dumb question. If you stop asking questions you´ll end up going being uncertain of what to do. Have some fun: Using fun as a technique enhances your performance and creates a more effective brain especially after some long hours of study for exams or finals. This is part of the learning process.
Mistakes are more interesting and instructive than our own successes.
They demonstrate risk-taking: Don´t play it safe by making only a few mistakes, stretch the limit by growing, risking, and learning.
Mistakes are valuable feedback
Get mistakes out into the open: our mistakes don´t make us a bad, it just shows us that were HUMAN. Our value lies in what we learn from our mistakes by admitting and correcting them.
Mistakes only happen when people are committed to quality to fail and learn. Celebrate your mistakes F is for Feedback not for Failure º In working in this presentation I found valuable material in other Prezi presentations on Test Anxiety by M.S., Sara Galbraith and Mary Ellen Guinto. Thank You
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