May 2002 Issue
Student Study Skills Tips
By Robin York, Chemeketa Community College
Combating Test Anxiety
If you are currently facing midterms, you can control and combat test anxiety by applying any or all of the anxiety-reducing strategies listed below. If you have completed your midterms, then you may want to save these suggestions for finals week!!
Exercise – This activity will help you burn access nervous energy and will help you maintain mental alertness.
Deep breathing - When we become anxious our breaths become very shallow and short. You can combat this pattern by inhaling very deeply and then exhaling slowly. You will immediately feel your body relax.
Positive thinking – Unfortunately, anxiety can lead us to negative thoughts. Phrases like “I hate tests.” I’m stupid.” “I always mess up.” “I’ll never learn this.” “I’ve always done poorly” need to be replaced with sentences such as “I’m looking forward to doing well on this one.” “I’m excited about learning.” “I’m successful in many areas of my life.” “I have a good study plan.” “I’m looking forward to success in college.” This is called positive self-talk and it will combat those negative thoughts.
Preparation – This technique works best because you know the material. You have studied adequately and this builds confidence. Here is a suggestion for preparation: Five days before the test spend at least two hours a day preparing for the exam. Reduce all of your textbook notes, lecture notes and classroom handouts into summary sheets (you may also use 4X6 flash cards). Use a variety of feedback tools, such as self–testing, to gauge your comprehension and knowledge of the material. Review thoroughly and completely during this five-day period. Your review sessions could include other students from the class.