Stress Management & Test Anxiety
The ABC's of Eliminating Exam Anxiety
Think Positively. Thoughts such as "I haven't studied enough" and "I don't know the material" will only increase your anxiety level. Instead, try to fell good about what you do know. You hear it all the time, but a positive attitude goes a long way.
Take a deep breath. It really will help you calm down. Think of a reward that you'll give yourself when you're through - maybe lunch out or a movie with a friend.
If you draw a blank, don't panic. It happens all the time. Take a few minutes to sit back and wait for it to come back to you.
Don't look around to see what your classmates are doing. If you're having doubts about how well you're doing and you see someone who looks like they're aceing the exam, it will only add to your anxiety.
Prepare well for your exams. People who know the material rarely get nervous. Review regularly and give yourself practice tests.
Keep things in perspective. Although exams are important, they're not a matter of life or death. In later years, nobody will ask you what grades you received on your exams. They lose significance over time.
Here are a few qualities that will help you develop your college survival skills.
Be resilient. It's easier to deal with life if you can adapt to any situation. For example, if you can be hardworking and dedicated at exam time, yet be able to leave it all behind when exams are over, you'll be better able to handle whatever you face.
Be tough. You have to be able to look after yourself. People may hurt you or gossip about you, but it's important to keep their actions from affecting you.
Before you react, though, be certain you are interpreting others' behavior correctly. What you may perceive as a hurtful act may not have been intended as such. Stress can make you blow things out of proportion.
Keep laughing. A good way to keep a positive outlook is to hold on to your sense of humor. Don't take things too seriously, and you'll be better able to keep things in perspective.
Be open-minded. It's easy to be critical of a situation or professor, especially if those around you are doing so. Don't let others be a negative influence on you. Keep an open mind, come to your own conclusions, and you'll enjoy things more fully.
Meet new people. One of the best therapies for depression is to go out and meet new people or participate in a new activity. You may find that despite you difficulties, there's still a lot out there to enjoy.
Don't sweat the small stuff. A renowned cardiologist's philosophy for dealing with stress: (1) Don't sweat the small stuff. (2) It's all small stuff.
Use the Five Year Rule. Ask yourself: "Five years from now, how impatient will this problem be?" Nine times out of ten, the answer is "Not very important". The five year rule can keep you from blowing the situation out of proportion.
7 Ways to Cope With it All
Talk to someone. Don't bottle your problems up. Go to someone you trust and get it off your chest. Sometimes just verbalizing the problem can help you to see it in a different light.
Make your escape. Taking a break from a difficult situation can do wonders for your frame of mind.
Let it out. Release your frustration in a productive way; a hard game of racquetball, for example, will ease your tension
Forget about it. Sometimes you've just got to say "This isn't important enough to give my time to", and move on from whatever's got you down.
Do something nice. If you find yourself thinking about your own worries too much, focus on someone else who's dealing with a tough situation. You'll get a good feeling from doing something nice for them, and you'll forget about your own troubles.
Do one thing at a time. If your workload seems overwhelming, don't get discouraged. Take the most important task that's haunting you and start in on it. Accomplishing even one of your 'to do's' can make you feel like you're back in control.
Give yourself a break. Some people create stress by setting standards that are too high to reach. Don't try to be perfect - sometimes you'll have to be satisfied with 'good enough'.
(Making Your Mark; Fraser, Lisa.)
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revised 01.13.2000 20:20