Cold sweats and troubling tests

Cold sweats and troubling tests

Carrie Sass

Production Editor

You‘ve paid close attention during lecture, taken extensive notes, studied all week long and still, on the day you are scheduled to take the test, you start to second guess yourself. Every hour the test looms closer, the more anxious and restless you become. During the test, you over-analyze every answer and become increasingly nervous.

According to The SC4 Student Success and Retention Committee, “the idea of studying for and taking tests may cause some anxiety for students.”  If you have the inability to perform despite taking ample time to prepare properly, you may be suffering from test anxiety.

Illustration by Zachary Penzien

Illustration by Zachary Penzien

About.com states, it is important to identify both your mental and physical reactions to the test-taking experience in order to determine if you are struggling with anxiety from it. The site lists some mental and physical symptoms to look for. Physical symptoms include dry mouth, tension headaches, restlessness, increased heart rate, and sweating. Mental symptoms to be aware of are low self esteem, hopelessness, and drawing a blank when you know the answer.

When asked what it is like to struggle with test anxiety, SC4 senior, David Babrak, 27 years old, responded, “Stressful…I always feel like no matter what I do I’m never really ready for a test.”

Dr. Charlene Sorensen of Gallaudet University developed an outline for coping with test anxiety for those preparing for an upcoming test. Sorensen suggests, following a regular routine and visualizing the test experience. Remember “One thing at a time. Often life seems crowded with things to do, people to see, email to answer, etc. It’s important for you to set priorities and make choices about what needs to be done first. If you find yourself focusing on the stresses in your life, try writing down your worries. That way you can set them aside, and come back and think about them later when you have more time.”

SC4 professors like Bob Kroll, adjunct instructor of English, understand that students may be affected by anxiety and encourage students to come to them if they are having any problems. Help is available in the Academic Achievement Center for those students looking to overcome the stress of test-taking.

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