Finals Fuel Test Anxiety

By Serenity Logan

Finals week is approaching and exams are scheduled. Many College of Southern Nevada students have test anxiety, though there are tips to overcome it.  

According to an article on UMass Dartmouth’s website, “Test anxiety is so much more than experiencing the butterflies at test time. Despite being fully prepared, students who suffer from this experience often have such emotional and physical stress when sitting down for a test that their mind goes totally blank. Some students even feel like running away to escape such overwhelming sensations. It floods a student with anxiety and impacts their performance. Students may experience physical symptoms, such as an upset stomach, sweaty palms, a racing heart, etc. They may also have trouble recalling information and thinking clearly.”

Dr. Brad Gruner, CSN psychology professor, further explains, “Test anxiety can include concerns such as fears of the consequences of failure. This means worrying about not passing; not earning the desired certificate or degree; not being successful in one’s chosen career path; fear of repeating past and or future testing shortcomings or failures; and fears about being inaccurately judged or evaluated based on test results.”

Alejandro Arreola-Pineda, CSN student, says, “I had anxiety about my grade that it was embedded in my mind that if I got a bad grade, I would not be able to complete the class and I wouldn’t be able to graduate. I also didn’t want to retake the class with the same professor as I wouldn’t want the professor to see that I am a failure. I would say fear of failure sometimes makes us put so much pressure on ourselves to do well that it can overcome us.”

Although statistics on this are hard to find, according to Best Colleges in a 2021 article titled “Ask a Professor How to Overcome Test Anxiety” it noted that test anxiety affects nearly 40% of college students. This negatively impacts their academic performances.

Hyley DiBona, a CSN student, says, “I do feel way more pressure on tests now that we are coming to the end of the semester. I have done well this semester with tests and quizzes, so in the grand scheme of things you would think that I wouldn’t be too nervous to take finals, but my finals coming up are worth about 40% of my grade and this has caused me to be very worried and very uneasy.”

Dr. Danielle Richards, CSN psychology professor, offers these tips. “Over prepare for exams so the knowledge is more likely to be recalled despite the anxiety. Anxiety can distract one from the task at hand of taking the test. Using mindfulness tools to remain present and centered can be helpful. Also, reframe the anxiety as excitement for taking the test. Changing the label of the feeling can be powerful in changing your thoughts and behavior. Also, pair the completion of the exam with a pleasurable activity so you have something to look forward to as a reward. That can be motivating and create new positive associations as well.”

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