Hey Slugs! Finals are here and for many of us, our stress levels are increasing. Test anxiety is a real issue that a lot of students face, and it’s not something that we should be ignoring. Read on to learn more about how you might better combat your test anxiety during finals.

Test Stress

by Emma Burke

Looking at a blank blue book will give me cotton mouth anytime, anywhere. And sitting down to take an exam, or even to write a paper, I often find my heart racing and my mind playing worst case scenarios on a loop. At times, my test anxiety has effected my performance because it inhibits my ability to concentrate and recall important information that I studied hours to remember. However, I know that I am not alone in these symptoms. The American Test Anxieties Association reports that 16-20% of students have high test anxiety.

So clearly, test anxiety is a problem that many of us face. But how can we work to solve it? A great first step is defining and coming to terms with your own unique struggles. A good way to better understand your areas for growth might be to take a test anxiety scale test. You can find a widespread and reputable scale here.

Now that we know what we’re dealing with, there are many different tips and strategies we can use to help us live efficiently with test anxiety. What personally works for me, is to develop a mantra that combats my most recurring fears. For example, I repeat to myself before a test both out loud and in my head, “I worked hard in this class, I studied as much as I could and I have earned a good grade. But no matter what happens, it’s only one test.” Mantras such as these can remind us that our fears and anxieties are often untrue, even when they feel real to us in the moment. Other helpful tips and strategies include putting things into perspective and reminding yourself that one test does not define you, recalling your past successes, giving yourself practice tests (even try timing them), and doing your best to get as much sleep as possible during the week prior to your exam. A more detailed list of test anxiety tips and strategies can be found here.

Finally, check out the CAPS website at UCSC for more helpful tips and resources. The CAPS Peer Education Program also offers a workshop free for students specifically focused on Test Anxiety and how to manage it. The workshop is offered quarterly and the Winter 2018 schedule can be found on the CAPS website and Facebook page during the first few weeks of Winter Quarter.