Don’t let test anxiety affect your studying

Rebekah Maple

Lack of preparation a big factor in stress

Whether they’re midterms or final exams, testing in college is inevitable, and worrying too much can cause unnecessary angst. There are ways to overcome test anxiety, and the services at Kent State are available to help.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site, test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety students may get due to fear of failure, lack of preparation or poor test history.

Students have the option of going to either the DeWeese Health Center or Kent State’s Psychological Clinic in White Hall to receive free treatment.

Elissa Lampe, assistant director of the Psychological Clinic, said their services include treatment for test anxiety, and students often come in. The clinic also sees community members.

She said the clinic differs from the health center because patients are seen by graduate students and supervised by licensed psychologists. At the health center, patients see a psychologist directly.

Senior psychology major Sarah Willis said she has experienced test anxiety throughout her college experience, but added that the symptoms were worse when she was a freshman.

“I always experience a little anxiety, but it’s worse when I’m taking a big test, like a final,” she said. “It’s gotten better over the years.”

Symptoms of test anxiety can include headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and light-headedness, according to the ADAA. People may also feel angry, fearful or helpless and have difficulty concentrating.

Willis said she experiences the typical butterflies and nervousness before a test. Sometimes she forgets the material when testing time approaches, but she starts to remember everything again after she relaxes.

ADAA advises people to be prepared, develop good test-taking skills, maintain a positive attitude, stay focused, practice relaxation techniques and stay healthy. These tips can help a student overcome their anxiety and lead them to a better grade.

Willis said she prepares for a test as much as she can. She advises freshmen to study a little each day the week before the test and to never cram everything in the night before.

“Try not to think about it too much,” Willis said, “and remember, it’s just a test.”

Contact news correspondent Rebekah Maple at [email protected].