Monday, December 3, 2012

Help your students reduce test anxiety

Final exams are almost upon us. So last week, I posted an article on reducing test anxiety my blog The A&P Student

Recent research has revealed an easy and effective trick for reducing test anxiety.  Simply take about ten minutes before the start of your exam to have students journal their anxiety.

Research shows that if your students spend about ten minutes to write out (not just think about) their feelings at the moment, they’ll feel less anxious during the exam.  And because of that (the research shows) they will do better on the exam! 

On average, students that use this technique raise their grade and average of one whole letter grade.  So even if you think it’s silly—or a time waster—isn’t it worth trying?

Students in a research study reported that by writing out their feelings, they quickly got to a point of calm and confidence.  The writing somehow took the energy out of the anxiety and replaced nervousness with readiness. 

Don’t collect the writing, by the way.  Students must be confident that their writings are private for this to work.

Let me know if you try in your classroom and whether you were able to notice a difference.

Want to know more?

Read the story behind this trick:

Testing Anxiety: Researchers Find Solution To Help Students Cope

And here’s the research behind the story:

Writing About Testing Worries Boosts Exam Performance in the Classroom
Gerardo Ramirez, Sian L. Beilock
Science 14 January 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6014 pp. 211-213 DOI: 10.1126/science.1199427

The related article from The A&P Student

Trick to reduce test anxiety

Check out my advice on breathing to reduce test anxiety:

Don’t forget to breathe!

Some advice for A&P students on preparing well for exams:

Previous articles on exam strategies

Brief video on preparing for exams


Photo by Josh Davis under CC license

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