Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You Be the Counselor: Coping with Final Exams

As I signed in to the testing center to take my psychology exam. I could feel my heart thumping heavily in my chest. Entering my name and emplid into the computer, I was aware that my hands felt damp and sweaty. Even though the air-conditioning was on, I felt very hot and knew my face was a flushed brick red. I was tired and edgy, and very worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember anything I had studied the last few days. I just knew I wasn’t going to do well on this test. At that thought, my teeth ground together and my jaw tensed. If I failed this exam, it was going to completely ruin my GPA. Then I wouldn’t be able to transfer to the school I wanted, and I would have wasted the money and time I had spent on this class. My husband would be really upset about that… My fear and anxiousness increased, and as I sat at the computer looking at the questions on the screen, my mind went blank. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the material—I had studied it thoroughly. But when I tried to remember the concepts, it seemed like the details I needed kept slipping just out of my mental grasp, teasing me with the sense that they were there, but tauntingly, just beyond my reach.
When taking a test, have you ever felt like this? If you have, you may have been experiencing Test Anxiety. Because test anxiety is a kind of performance anxiety, a little bit of it can actually be helpful to you—motivating you to study and prepare, giving you energy and excitement about the chance to show off what you know. Too much of that anxiety, however, can have the opposite effect—causing physical, hormonal, and mental changes in your body and your thinking that interfere with your ability to remember things or process information logically. Are there any strategies and techniques that you use to prepare for tests? What methods are effective for helping you manage anxiety?


  1. When you feel that anxiety building. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and relax! Here are some test anxiety strategies from my favorite Study Guides website:

  2. I looked over the study guide you linked to. It looked helpful. I'm curious... Are there any techniques in the guide that you personally use frequently?