For me, it's Test Anxiety
The Learning Hub is here to normalize the stressors around testing culture, and have a few tips on how to tackle your test anxiety.Oct 7, 2022
Test anxiety is one of the top learning challenges of college students today. Several non-academic stressors may be a factor in test anxiety in college students as well. The future of the country, money, work, political climate, housing stability...
all of these play a part in stress and anxiety surrounding classes and tests. We understand, and we can offer support and tips to help reduce anxiety leading up to your exams.
" A little nervousness before a test can be good, but too often that anxiety can undermine our confidence and abilities."
For some students, anxiety about an upcoming examination could lead to increased levels of motivation, focus, and effort. For other students, the effects of test anxiety could be debilitating. It may lead to worry and an inability to concentrate (and/or a tendency to procrastinate) in the weeks and days building up to the exam. A little nervousness before a test can be good. It can motivate us to work hard and put forth our best effort on the test. When we become too anxious, though, that anxiety can undermine our confidence and interfere with our ability to do our best!
Test anxiety can appear before, during, or after an exam. When you feel it coming on, always remember to practice self-compassion and to focus on helpful strategies for success. While there are many contributors to test anxiety, arming yourself with strategies can help you work your way through it. Preparation, organization, and practice can help boost your confidence. With so much depending on test results, it is no wonder that students often become anxious about taking tests. But don’t worry!
You can master test-anxiety and improve your performance on exams by following some helpful tips:
- Be prepared. If you feel confident that you’ve prepped thoroughly, you’ll feel more confident walking into the test. Start studying a few weeks in advance so that you have enough time to prepare for your test. Space your studying out into smaller, more manageable chunks of time.
- Use campus resources. Take advantage of the services CU Denver offers its students. Visit the Learning Hub for help with math, writing, or peer tutoring to understand some of the difficult course concepts. The LRC recently partnered with TutorMe to offer on-demand, expert online tutoring 24/7 to fit your schedule. Online... all the time!
- Understand how to study effectively. Visit the Learning Resources Center for group workshops focused on study techniques and test-taking strategies. For a personal approach, check out Individual Coaching through the LRC to meet and discuss effective study strategies to help you learn, understand, and remember material. You’ll have all the tools to succeed on your exam!
- Relax. People find relaxation in various forms... listening to music, meditating, yoga, fresh air... find something that lets you enjoy a moment of clarity and pause. Practicing mindfulness can lead to improved overall well-being; reduced anxiety; improved sleep; increased confidence; and greater calmness. Try downloading a mindfulness app like Calm or Headspace . One study compared the effectiveness of mindfulness coloring where participants reported significant decreases in test anxiety and significant increases in state mindfulness. Mandala coloring books are a great way to relax by letting your creativity flow.
- Engage in self-care. Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Whatever you do, be sure to eat well, get plenty of restful sleep, incorporate exercise or movement into your day. Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.
- The Day of the Test. Begin your day with breakfast and avoid caffeine if it causes caffeine jitters. Try to do something calming and relaxing the hour before the test. Do not cram right before the test... last minute cramming will cloud your memory of the overall concepts of the course. Arrive at the test location early.
Sometimes test anxiety can stem from something more serious. If you are concerned that your learning and engagement with coursework might be affected by depression, severe anxiety, or other sources of chronic stress, please reach out to designated campus resources or another trusted health professional to discuss additional support.
Additional Links & Support Resources:
CU Denver Counseling Center - Free Appointments and Resources
YOU@CUDenver - Tips and tools for everything from your mental and physical health, to finding balance.
Learning Resources Center - 24/7 free tutoring resources, individual coaching, and course prep.